Family Audio Guide Stop #32 Xu Zhen
Xu Zhen is an artist from China who creates sculptures, paintings, and installations. He uses art to play with different ideas about the interaction between Asian and western cultures.
Eternity—Male Figure, Statue of Venus Genetrix is a series of three sculptures. You will see two inside Asia Society Museum. The third will be installed outside the building on Park Avenue in the second part of the Triennial. This series of sculptures exemplifies the artist’s playful attitude towards the relationship between eastern and western art. Each of Xu Zhen’s figures contains replicas of two famous historical artworks—one is an eleventh-century male figure from Cambodia, and the other is a second-century Roman statue. The Cambodian work is considered a masterpiece of traditional Asian art and the Roman status is considered a masterpiece of classical western art. By joining them together, the artist is considering how eastern and western artistic traditions have interacted for centuries. Borrowing ideas and styles from other cultures is not new—it has happened for hundreds of years!
The artist used different materials to create these sculptures. He chose these based on the materials that were commonly used in the time and place where the historical artworks originated. What similarities and differences do you see in these two joined sculptures?