The leitmotiv for The New Art Fest 2020 probably comes less from an expected linguistic game, than from the title of a seminal work by Chinese conceptual artist Xu Tan: Made in China.
Nearly a hundred and fifty works were being set up throughout the museum. Xu was contributing an installation called “Made in China,” which he’d first shown two decades earlier: a recreation of an apartment belonging to upwardly striving, middle-class city dwellers during the boom years of the late nineties. “I lived in Guangzhou then,” Xu said. “The Pearl River Delta was really starting to make a name for itself as the world’s low-tech factory.”
“Made in China” is Xu’s attempt to document how China’s budding consumerist revolution transformed the country’s domestic sphere. The apartment’s furniture—sofa, bathtub, chairs, desk, bed—had been purchased locally and delivered the day before from a New York warehouse. “I still remember when sofas”—the Chinese word, sha-fa, derives from the English—“entered China, and what a luxury commodity it was.” He pointed to the sofa and chuckled. “Anyone who could afford one put it front and center in their living room, just to show that they had one.”
—in Xu Tan Re-Creates “Made in China” for the Guggenheim
By Jiayang FanOctober 16, 2017
The New Yorker
The “Keywords School” is a project based on the continuous investigation and research of “keywords” by the Chinese artist Xu Tan. Underway since 2006, the project’s central premise of communication between audience and artist/art project now takes the form of “school”. The content of this school is “keywords”, terms gathered from Xu Tan’s persistent searching and researching through interviews and discussions among people from different fields and backgrounds […]
About the artist
Xu Tan was born in Wuhan, Hubei Province in 1957 and currently lives in Guangzhou. Since the early 1990s he has been part of “Big Tail Elephant Group”, an experimental art team in Guangzhou. Xu Tan has insisted on his lifestyle as “outcast”, maintaining sensitivity to the changes in social life and culture, and questioning the boundary of contemporary art. Over the years this has led his working style to appear more like that of a social theorist than a purely visual artist. His work has been shown around the world, including at the 50th Biennale di Venezia, the Berlin Biennial, the Gongdong Triennial etc.
—in Keywords (read more)