Shanzhai Biennial

Décor and theatricality have returned with a vengeance after more than a century of being shunned as art’s lowbrow cousins. Marcel Broodthaers and Palle Nielsen were among the first artists to register the implications of this shift, anticipating the rise of immersion, affective networking, storytelling, surveillance, and monetisation that came along with it. By Antony Hudek

 Shanzhai Biennial No. 1 , Beijing Design Week, 2012, mixed media

Shanzhai Biennial No. 1, Beijing Design Week, 2012, mixed media

Questions of appropriation have never been easy, but the New York-based artists collective Shanzhai Biennial uses the strategy of the copy – or, better, a copy of the strategy – as a way of refusing easy categorization, whether as parody, masquerade, parasitism, critique, or something else. Their work raises questions about the spectacle, globalization, branding, and, as Harry Burke argues, compels us to reconsider the relationship between art and image.