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Amanda Hunt on Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye

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 Art   |   Fine Arts
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The Museum of Contemporary Art has acquired a performance piece titled In Just a Blink of an Eye by Chinese artist Xu Zhen. The work will be on view at MOCA’s Grand Avenue location every Saturday and Sunday beginning July 27 through September 1. Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye features a group of performers floating mysteriously in mid-air, defying the constraints of physics as if frozen in time and space.

The work engages notions of the body as material, and in turn the materiality of the body, testing the limits of physical and cognitive possibilities as the viewer tries to comprehend what we see. A prolific and experimental artist, Zhen’s conceptually-driven practice encompasses a vast range of media and often employs humor, irony, and sophisticated trickery. As the audience waits for movement, for the performer to stand up, or for them to continue to follow the rules of gravity, they instead experience time and stillness as moments extend and are stretched out on through these living sculptures. Xu Zhen explores fragility and balance, literally and metaphorically, spatially and temporally.

The work will be on view every Saturday and Sunday, starting on Saturday, July 27 through Sunday, September 1 at MOCA’s Grand Avenue location. No advance reservations or special tickets are needed to experience the performance. Please anticipate lines to enter the exhibition Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye. MOCA members receive priority access to the queue.

Prior to this acquisition, MOCA had only one performance piece in its collection by Puerto Rico-based artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla (Allora & Calzadilla), titled Temperament and the Wolf (2014/19). The duo recently reimagined the work specifically for the 2019 MOCA Benefit, centered around the gesture of welcoming guests into MOCA’s 40th year with the essential participation of MOCA staff and trustees.

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