Walsh Gallery

Zhou Xiaohu


Dates: Mar 7 2008 - Apr 12 2008

Opening Reception: Mar 7 2008

Playful Critiques of China's New Economics

Shanghai based artist Zhou Xiaohu returns to the Walsh Gallery for his first solo exhibition featuring recent new media and photographic works. In this exhibit, Zhou playfully raises awareness of socio-economic issues while highlighting the differences of power inherent between the classes and sexes in capitalist economies. New media art has a brief history in China. Zhou has been working in the medium since the late 1990's and is one of the pioneers. The artist will be present at the opening reception.

The centerpiece of this exhibition is Zhou Xiaohu's Concentration Training Camp, an eight part video installation involving multiple projections, photography, and monitors. Concentration Training Camp fictionally depicts the training practices of Amway, an American company that recruits globally for pyramid scheme employment. The more people an employee convinces to sell or buy Amway products, the more money he makes. In Zhou's depictions of the training, the employees participate in a variety of ritualistic training practices—trust falls, the telephone game and emotional speeches. Throughout their "training" the participants appear right side up when in actuality they are hanging upside down via a hidden suspension system. The video turns the viewer's and participants' world upside down until this new perspective seems normal. The gross exaggeration of company loyalty and bonding mocks the singular obsession with money present in today's global economy.

Also included in the show is a stop-motion video piece titled "Self Defense." In this video a mannequin, posing as every woman, is repeatedly sexually assaulted and harassed in a variety of everyday situations. Although the setting changes, the mannequin skillfully counterattacks her assaulter using martial arts. The video comments on how rapid economic growth has exacerbated power differences between classes and sexes.

Zhou Xiaohu received his BFA from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in Chengdu, China in 1989. Zhou's work has been shown at international exhibitions including the Shanghai Biennale, the Chengdu Biennale and the Guangzhou Triennial. Prestigious institutions where Zhou's works have appeared include the Victoria and Albert Museum (London), "Between Past and Future" at the Smart Museum (Chicago) and the International Center of Photography (New York), the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the Tate (Liverpool).