the inaugural triennial at the national gallery of victoria is causing quite a stir — among 100 artists and designers from 32 countries, installations by ron mueck and teamlab have already been widely appreciated for their innovative creative character and unmistakable monumentality. joining the esteemed list of exhibiting creative forces is chinese artist xu zhen, who has worked across video, photography, performance, painting, sculpture, and installation.

xu zhen national gallery victoria
installation view at the national gallery of victoria
photo by john gollings

 

 

for the NGV triennial, xu zhen combines sculptural replications of a famous buddhist statue and greco-roman, renaissance and neoclassical figures, bringing together eastern and western cultural heritages. in the artists own words, ‘eternity-buddha in nirvana’ generates ‘a new form of creative culture’ that he hopes will help bring about understanding and appreciation across societal boundaries.

xu zhen national gallery victoria
photo by john gollings

 

 

upon a 14-meter-long form of a reclining buddha that dates from the high tang dynasty, xu zhen has added sculptural representations from greek and roman mythology. each figure poses or leans on and around the great buddha, bringing cultural traditions together. ‘I have always been curious about the differences between cultures and the alienation between them,’ the artist continues, ‘and yet, misconceptions can be the beginning of awareness and understanding’.

xu zhen national gallery victoria
photo by john gollings

xu zhen national gallery victoria
photo by john gollings

xu zhen national gallery victoria
photo by john gollings

xu zhen national gallery victoria
xu zhen’s studio during casting of the classical european sculptures, 2017 © xu zhen 
image courtesy of the artist 

xu zhen national gallery victoria
‘wounded achilles’ by albacini 2017
production image © xu zhen, courtesy madein company, shanghai


xu zhen’s studio during casting of the classical european sculptures 2017 © xu zhen
image courtesy of the artist

xu zhen national gallery victoria
new, 2017, detail featuring the fighting persian © xu zhen
image courtesy madein company, shanghai, china

xu zhen national gallery victoria
dancing faun 2017, production image © xu zhen
image courtesy of madein company, shanghai

xu zhen national gallery victoria
xu zhen’s studio during the preparation of new (2017) for the NGV © xu zhen
image courtesy madein company, shanghai

xu zhen national gallery victoria
eternity-buddha in nirvana 2017, production image © xu zhen
image courtesy madein company, shanghai

 

 

[main image] eternity-buddha in nirvana, the dying gaul, farnese hercules, night, day, sartyr and bacchante, funerary genius, achilles, persian soldier fighting, dancing faun, crouching aphrodite, narcissus lying, othryades the spartan dying, the fall of icarus, a river, milo of croton 2016–17 | mineral-based composite material, mineral pigments, metal, ed. 1/3 (550.0 x 1800.0 x 380.0 cm) | commissioned by the national gallery of victoria, melbourne national gallery of victoria, melbourne loti & victor smorgon fund, 2017 | © xu zhen, image courtesy madein company, shanghai

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