I love Xijing—Xijing School
The Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas and the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute are pleased to present the inaugural North American exhibition by the internationally renowned Xijing Men: artists Tsuyoshi Ozawa (Japan), Chen Shaoxiong (China), and Gimhongsok (Korea). Members of the collaborative will stay in Kansas City for a 10-day residency to create and install a new work.
The Xijing Men hail, conceptually, from the fictitious city of Xijing, an imagined political entity in East Asia. Since forming in 2006, the Xijing Men have staged scenarios drawing heavily on absurdity, satire, sarcasm, and humor. Tsuyoshi Ozawa and Chen Shaoxiong originally began communicating via a visual correspondence meant to bridge the linguistic and geographic divide between their two countries. When the two were invited to participate in Mori Art Museum’s All About Laughter: Humor in Contemporary Art, they displayed their work alongside that of Gimhongsok. Noticing a resonance between their work and Gimhongsok’s, they asked him to join them in forming a collaboration spanning three Asian states.
The collaboration will consist of five chapters and will establish the history, mythology and cultural identity of Xijing. At the same time, by attributing these qualities to a non-existent political entity, the Xijing Men poke holes in these very concepts, deflating their power. Meanwhile, mock cultural events have provided opportunities for commentary, always referencing specific geopolitical spectacles. The Xijing Men have exhibited their work at museums and international exhibitions throughout Asia and Europe, including: Gwangju Biennale 2012, Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation in Venice 2011, the 1st Aichi Triennial 2010, Media City Seoul 2010, the 10th Lyon Biennale 2009, the 4th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale 2009, Tate Liverpool 2009, 3rd Nanjing Triennial 2008, and Platform Seoul 2008.
The Kansas City exhibition, to be installed at the H&R Block Artspace, will include a survey of past work by the Xijing Men, including video, drawings and objects culled from four of the five chapters the artists envisioned for the duration of their collaboration. In conjunction with the exhibition, the artists will deliver a public presentation as part of the KCAI Current Perspectives lecture series on Thursday, January 31 at 7 pm. A full-color exhibition catalogue featuring essays and interviews detailing new and past work will also be published as part of the exhibition.
This exhibition is generously funded by the Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts, Kansas City, Missouri, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Kansas City, Missouri, the Japan Foundation, New York, New York, and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.