The three artists, who have all pondered ways to address the contradictions they have faced between life and institutional systems, agreed to create a fictitious city, Xijing, and call themselves Xijing Men.
Xijing Men is the collective formed in 2006 by Gimhongsok, Chen Shaoxiong, and Tsuyoshi Ozawa, who had previously been working independently as artists. All born in the 1960s, the three artists, from Korea, China, and Japan respectively, have distinguished themselves in the international art scene as post-conceptual artists in Asia after the 1990s. The three artists, who have all pondered ways to address the contradictions they have faced between life and institutional systems, agreed to create a fictitious city, Xijing, and call themselves Xijing Men. As a group, they make critical yet comic plays about the falsity of contemporary life.
The artists focused on the name of the city “Xijing(西京)” for its specificity. While the names of other capital cities related to the cardinal directions-Tokyo(東京), Nanjing(南京), and Beijing(北京)-exist in the present, Xijing does not exist in the contemporary world. It remains only in the literary imagination, both as a city of life and as the realm of death. The artists focus on the context of the word “Xijing,” call Xijing back into the present, and reconstruct the city.
The exhibition presents all the stories of Xijing, a city built by Xijing Men, in a single space. The six episodes constituting the four chapters “Do you know Xijing?” “Welcome to Xijing,” “This is Xijing,” and “I love Xijing” are restructured organically from the entrance of the exhibition hall in order to reveal the politics, economy, society, and culture of Xijing. The exhibition hall is completely transformed into the world of Xijing. The fables created by Xijing Men are critical statements as well as jokes about globalization and the identity of contemporary Asia. This exhibition presents an MMCA version of This is Xijing - Journey to the West, a performance that is to be staged by a group of people selected from the place of exhibition. The MMCA version, entitled “Journey to the West : Xijing Hotel,” will be performed in collaboration with Choolmoll Theatre.
The last scene of the exhibition is Epilogue, which is composed of individual works by Gimhongsok, Chen Shaoxiong, and Tsuyoshi Ozawa. Gimhongsok appropriates Robert Indiana’s LOVE to reveal and criticize strange cultural changes as well as to disclose the contradictions between the systems of art and the economy. Chen Shaoxiong uses contemporary media environments to make a direct visual presentation utilizing the critical language on society. Tsuyoshi Ozawa uses soy sauce to reproduce western paintings favored by the Japanese, thereby presenting fables about the relationship between Japan and the West. In this epilogue, we can see the comedic jokes the artists tossed at the world together and the questions they posed about the world individually-that is, the shared yet differing concerns of the artists.
This exhibition is part of the Asia Art Project organized by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea as a long term exhibition program based on the research of the current status of contemporary art in Asia. This exhibition is followed by Shirin Neshat and Infinite Challenge held in 2014.
Image: World of Xijing
Ki-seok Lee, Public Relations Team
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Opening: Wednesday 27 May 2015
National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
30 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
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Wednesday and Saturday 10am–9pm (6–9pm free of charge)