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MOCA acquires performance piece into its permanent collection
Xu Zhen, In Just a Blink of an Eye (2014), exhibition view of 14 Rooms, curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist, presented in Basel by Fondation Beyeler, Art Basel, Theater Basel in 2014. Courtesy of the artist and Fondation Beyeler. Photo by Mark Niedermann.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art has acquired a performance piece titled In Just a Blink of an Eye by Chinese artist Xu Zhen. The work will be on view at MOCA’s Grand Avenue location every Saturday and Sunday beginning July 27 through September 1. Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye features a group of performers floating mysteriously in mid-air, defying the constraints of physics as if frozen in time and space.

“This is a very exciting addition to MOCA’s collection holdings, and an example of our new dedication to collecting performance art,” says Amanda Hunt, MOCA’s Director of Education and Senior Curator of Programs. “It is the museum’s second performance piece in the collection and there will be more to come. This particular piece imparts a very powerful experience and I am so pleased that our audiences will get to immerse themselves in it over the coming weeks.”

The work engages notions of the body as material, and in turn the materiality of the body, testing the limits of physical and cognitive possibilities as the viewer tries to comprehend what we see. A prolific and experimental artist, Zhen’s conceptually-driven practice encompasses a vast range of media and often employs humor, irony, and sophisticated trickery. As the audience waits for movement, for the performer to stand up, or for them to continue to follow the rules of gravity, they instead experience time and stillness as moments extend and are stretched out on through these living sculptures. Xu Zhen explores fragility and balance, literally and metaphorically, spatially and temporally.

The work will be on view every Saturday and Sunday, starting on Saturday, July 27 through Sunday, September 1 at MOCA’s Grand Avenue location. No advance reservations or special tickets are needed to experience the performance.

Prior to this acquisition, MOCA had only one performance piece in its collection by Puerto Rico-based artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla (Allora & Calzadilla), titled Temperament and the Wolf (2014/19). The duo recently reimagined the work specifically for the 2019 MOCA Benefit, centered around the gesture of welcoming guests into MOCA’s 40th year with the essential participation of MOCA staff and trustees.

Born in 1977, living and working in Shanghai, China, Xu Zhen has exhibited internationally at museums and biennales, including, Venice Biennale (2001, 2005), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2004), Tate Liverpool (2007), among others. In 2004, he won the prize for “Best Artist” at the China Contemporary Art Award. His practice covers various mediums such as installations, video, painting, and performance. Recent exhibitions include What About the Art? (Al Riwaq Museum, Qatar, 2016), Bentu (Louis Vuitton Foundation, France, 2016), Corporate (Kunsthaus Graz, Austria, 2015), Xu Zhen Solo Exhibition (Long Museum, Shanghai, China, 2015), Blissful As Gods (ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2014), 14 Rooms (Beyeler Foundation, Basel, Switzerland 2014), Xu Zhen-A MadeIn Company Production (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2014), The 12th Biennale of Lyon (Lyon, France, 2013), Art of Change (Hayward Gallery, London, 2012).

Aside from being an artist, Xu Zhen is also a curator. He co-curated major exhibitions in Shanghai alongside other artists and was one of the initiators of Art-Ba-Ba in 2006, a leading online forum for discussion and critique of contemporary art in Shanghai. In 2009, Xu Zhen established MadeIn Company, a contemporary art creation company, focused on the production of creativity and devoted to the research of contemporary culture’s infinite possibilities. In 2013, MadeIn Company launched the brand “Xu Zhen” and in 2014 established MadeIn Gallery.

Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye is organized by Amanda Hunt, Director of Education and Senior Curator of Programs with the assistance of Alice Teng.

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