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Spencer Museum of Art announces Xijing Men Collaborative

Spencer Museum of Art at The University of Kansas in Lawrence presents Xijing Men Collaborative on view February 1 – April 3, 2013.

The Spencer Museum of Art and H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute will collaborate on the inaugural North American exhibition by the internationally renowned group Xijing Men Collaborative, which consists of Tsuyoshi Ozawa (Japan), Chen Shaoxiong (China), and Gimhongsok (Korea). As part of this exhibition, the three members of the collaborative will arrive in Kansas City on January 22 for a 10-day residency to create and install a new work.

Xijing is a fictitious country. The term Xijing is composed of Chinese characters meaning “western capital” (the city’s name would be saikyō in Japanese and suhkyung in Korean). The word play has roots in the names of real cities: Beijing (“northern capital”), Nanjing (“southern capital”), and Tokyo, known in Chinese as Donjing (“eastern capital”). Xijing embodies an imagined political entity in East Asia. Since forming in 2006, the Xijing Collaborative has staged scenarios drawing heavily on absurdity, satire, sarcasm, and humor. Works like a mock Olympics hosted by Xijing explore an alternate vision of the geo-political athletic spectacle that not only resituates the “play” of competitive sports away from the realm of nationalized competition, but also avows the fundamental element of amusement seemingly absent in professional sports.

The exhibition will include the staging of puppet shows and a survey of past video work by the Xijing Men, including video and installation works culled from four of the five chapters the artists envisioned for the duration of the Xijing Men Collaborative: (1) Do You Know Xijing? (2) This is Xijing (3) Welcome to Xijing (4) I Love Xijing. The fifth chapter, Goodbye Xijing, which will eventually conclude their project, does not yet exist.

The exhibition will be installed at the H&R Block Artspace, on view from February 1 through April 2, 2013. In conjunction with the exhibition, the artists will present a talk as part of the KCAI Current Perspectives Lecture Series. An accompanying performance taking the guise of a conference is tentatively planned onsite at the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence. A full-color exhibition catalogue featuring essays and interviews detailing new and past work will also be published as part of the exhibition. –

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