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Local artists shed new light on the Middle East

Author: Wang Jie 2009-09-18

"SEEING One's Own Eyes," an exhibition currently running at M50, tries to offer the audience a rich paradox, dissolving any monolithic views of the contemporary art of the Middle East.But this is not an exhibition created by artists from the Middle East. They are actually produced by a Shanghai artist team. Curated by Xu Zhen and implemented by his artist team, it is a subject that has not been covered before by the Chinese artists. Xu and his team use "MadeIn" rather than their individual names.

"MadeIn" is a company Xu established this year. The most arresting and moving piece is called "Calm." This installation piece consists a floor full of broken bricks, debris, dust- it is a sight of a human shelter that lies flattened beneath the viewers. Nothing is there, besides a yawning emptiness of destruction. But when looking closer, one can see the debris moving up and down in soft, slow waves, actually implying that there is no calmness after the bomb.

At a distance the painted series titled "Made-up" looks like blown-up and distorted Persian miniatures with rich colors and delicate arabesques, but their satire is savage.

Another eye-catching piece is titled "Perfect Volume." It is also a large-scale installation that consists of the cut-off front part of military boots shaped to form a big empty circle. This work may be about grievance, about all the people that have suffered from the numerous wars in the region.

However the work transcends the context, it doesn't depend for the effect on the knowledge of the viewers of specific political or social issues. Another hauntingly beautiful installation is "The Soul Has Been Replaced by Anxiety" which consists of a merry-go-round. The life-size carousel itself might allude to childhood dreams, but this piece certainly does not: Here, the carousel is a bleak and black "deus exmachina" - turning around and around without destination.

Finally, the exhibition takes its title after the installation "Seeing One's Own Eyes" - a grand circular-shaped pool carrying a boat covered with a Persian rug.

The spacious installation works as an oasis, a place to rest and dream in the shade of the palm trees that surround the liquid. In line with the title, this piece is a reflection on vision and optics, and self-reflection.

It serves to remind the viewers that altering one's perspective will allow and encourage the world to come into and out of focus before your eyes. It demonstrates the exciting potential where two sides could be reconciled.

Related Artists:
XU ZHEN® 徐震®

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