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Renowned Conceptual Artist Xu Zhen Explores The Delicate Art Of Falling

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Name
Project
In Just a Blink of an Eye
Photographer
Words

Chinese artist Xu Zhen questions reality in the performance piece ‘In Just a Blink of an Eye’.

The Shanghai-based conceptual artist frequently considers socio-political themes through installation, sculpture, and mixed media. In his recent performance piece, acquired by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Zhen considers notions of fragility, balance, and the perceived limits of possibility. In the piece, a group of performers are mysteriously suspended in air, appearing to defy gravity as they float, mid-way through an apparent collapse. Whilst they remain poised at seemingly impossible angles, the piece has both a calming and dramatic edge. The role of the audience as participants is of parallel importance here; the inevitable questions of how, and why, the performers are solidified in this symbolic freezing of time is equally significant to the impact of the piece. While audience members are free to move around the performers in their permanent state of stasis, no signs of trickery are revealed, adding to its mysterious quality. It is an enigmatic display that questions the limitations of time, space, and the materiality of the human body.

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Installation view of Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye, July 27–September 1, 2019 at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo © Myles Pettengill.

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Installation view of Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye, July 27–September 1, 2019 at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo © Myles Pettengill.

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Installation view of Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye, July 27–September 1, 2019 at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo © Myles Pettengill.

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Installation view of Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye, July 27–September 1, 2019 at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo © Myles Pettengill.

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Installation view of Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye, July 27–September 1, 2019 at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo © Myles Pettengill.

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Installation view of Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye, July 27–September 1, 2019 at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo © Myles Pettengill.

All images courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo © Myles Pettengill.