glass-fibre-reinforced mineral and acrylic resin composite, marble grains, marble, stainless steel
473 x 394 x 1470 cm
Xu Zhen is interested in the theory and practice of ‘bentu’ (literally translated as ‘native soil’). In contemporary Chinese art the term denotes a dialectical intention to reconcile local and global cultures in a critical rediscovery of identity: a reaction against being positioned as ‘the other’ in opposition to western modernity. European Thousand-Armed Classical Sculpture (2014) transforms nineteen archetypal western figurative sculptures into a dancing Bodhisattva. They include a nineteenth century copy of a Greek statue of Athena, a bronze Poseidon, Apollon from the roof of the Palais Garnier in Paris, the Statue of Liberty, and a figure of the crucified Christ. Replicated in stark white glass-fibre reinforced concrete, and arranged in a row to represent the waving, dancing arms of the Thousand Armed Guanyin, they challenge traditional ideas of cultural separateness, suggesting that all of humanity is engaged in an absurdist dance party.