9 March – 12 May 2012
North Galleries, Inside the White Cube
Established in 2009, MadeIn Company is an artists’ collective founded by Shanghai-based artist, Xu Zhen (b.1977). Exploring notions of identity, authorship, ethics and commerce, MadeIn’s practice embraces a wide range of formal and conceptual strategies. In the 'True Image' series (2010-12), five sculptures were created by the collective, photographed and then destroyed following their documentation. The only record of the ‘original’ artworks are in this series of large-scale photographs, and in doing so, the photographic representation subverts the 'aura' and physicality of the ‘original’ piece (as discussed by the cultural critic Walter Benjamin in his 1936 essay, 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction'.) This raises questions of authenticity and the way art is experienced today through ‘advanced media’, materialism and the art market. Each piece is accompanied by a label with a title, which are quotes from various philosophical or cultural sources, alongside the ‘original’ artwork’s medium and size, creating a further conceptual deviance. Suspended in the gallery space, 'Play - 4' (2012), features a naked figure, wearing ceremonial headdress, hung from the ceiling by a form of traditional Japanese ‘Kinbaku’ or bondage apparatus. A sculptural montage of different ethnicities, including Asian and African, ‘Play – 4’ examines the problematics and contentious nature of cultural politics.