Shanzai are imitation Chinese products, a design phenomenon. These shams used to be sub-standard but these days factories get their mitts on original designs, cast a brief critical eye over the form and function and whack them into production with a host of micro improvements around features and functionality. They then release a mildly improved interpretation into the local market.
In conjunction with the Hayward’s soon-to-close Art of Change, New Directions from China the concept of ‘Shanzai’ in Chinese contemporary art explodes the western idea of ‘originals’ and ‘fakes’. Works of art in China are ‘ongoing creations’, progressively developed from the original and changed over time. Wenny Teo, curator and tutor at the Courtauld Institute and Ying Kwok, Curator at the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester explore these concepts with Philip Dodd, writer, broadcaster and former Director of the ICA.
The event will focus on the work of artists MadeIn Company and Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, whose work features in the exhibition. “These artists look at the act of ‘post-creation’ as adding value to a work of art, as well as emphasizing that our understanding of the world is constantly in flux.”