A concept will be auctioned as an artwork for the first time in Asia when Sothebys
Hong Kong will offer Xuzhen Supermarket (Est. HK$900,000 1,500,000 / US$115,000 192,000) at its Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 30 September 2018. Conceived by leading Chinese Contemporary artist Xu Zhen®, Xuzhen Supermarket is one of the artists most critically acclaimed works, which satirises consumerism and global capitalism. First exhibited in 2016, Xuzhen Supermarket evolved from its predecessor, the Shanghart Supermarket, which debuted at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2007 and was exhibited subsequently at numerous locations across the world.
An installation will be open for public participation during the auction previews in Shanghai (1 2 September), Beijing (4 5 September) and Hong Kong (28 30 September). A portion of the sale proceeds will benefit Organhaus Art Space, a non-profit independent art organisation based in Chongqing, China, which supports young and experimental multimedia artists.
Artist Xu Zhen® commented: This truly ground-breaking collaboration with Sothebys marks the first time in auction history a supermarket [concept] will go on sale. I am delighted that Xuzhen Supermarket will be offered at an international auction, which escalates the work to a new level of breaking boundaries and disrupting preconceptions about art and daily life. Besides this, this project is particularly meaningful given that proceeds will benefit the non-profit independent art organisation Organhaus.
A humorous yet subversive work, Xuzhen Supermarket replicates a Chinese convenience store, housing a functioning cash register and an assortment of familiar merchandise available for visitors to purchase at normal retail prices. From tubes of Colgate toothpaste to bottles of local Kweichow Moutai liquor, each item lacks content, consisting only of its packaging. For visitors, each act of purchasing or not purchasing and corresponding thought-process, contributes to a playful yet penetrating critique on consumerism, advertising and global capitalism. The fact that the work is for the first time offered for sale at auction adds to the irony.
The buyer of the Xuzhen Supermarket will obtain the right to commission new physical recreations and enactments of the concept, to be executed by Xu Zhen®. The current work on offer is the first and only edition of Xuzhen Supermarket to ever come to market.
Yuki Terase, Sothebys Head of Contemporary Art, Asia, commented: We are thrilled about this innovative collaboration with Xu Zhen®, who has a significant career spanning from being the youngest Chinese artist to participate in the Venice Biennale, to showing at the Guggenheims major exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art last year. A concept can be art, and with Conceptual Art like Xuzhen Supermarket, we want to show the world a different, fresh, and stimulating side of Chinese Contemporary Art. This category is still new to auction even on a global scale and is therefore a testament to Sothebys creative spirit and our capacity to push new frontiers to expand the variety of art in the region.