robotic mechanisms, stainless steel, styrofoam, polyurethane foam, silicone, paint, sensors, electronic controls
350 x 750 x 800 cm
“Hello” is a large-scale kinetic sculpture that uses robotics to interact with viewers. Its form is inspired by an ancient Greek Corinthian column, continuing XU ZHEN®’s dialogue with art history and his blurring of cultural boundaries. But instead of standing upright as an architectural support it is coiled in the exhibition space like an enormous snake: its capital, decorated with acanthus leaves, swings ominously towards viewers like the snake’s head. Part of XU ZHEN®’s ongoing ‘Eternity’ body of work, ‘Hello’ examines the nexus between classical Greece -- so often considered the cornerstone of western civilisation -- and eastern history. MadeIn, the artist’s ‘art production company’ says XU ZHEN® ‘plays with our educational and cultural background, how these have an impact on the way we understand what we see, challenging the established order. A parallel between the history and art history of the Orient and the Occident is created, and the notion of civilization is placed in a broader contemporary perspective.’ This mutated Greek column appears to be alive, observing its surroundings and moving aggressively in response to gallery visitors, who may feel they are having a somewhat alarming encounter with what we have been taught to think of as global history. XU makes a connection with Nietzsche’s famous line: ‘If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.’ With “Hello”, a work that fuses art history with cutting-edge robotics, XU ZHEN® once again questions binaries between east and west, past and present, art and science, and illusion and reality.