Hard Cover, English / Chinese, Thread Stitching, 196 Pages, 2020, Hatje Cantz
Can corporate history be art? This question can only be asked if one is not familiar with the fascinating long-term project by the Chinese artist Xiaowen Zhu. Anyone who has experienced Oriental Silk will answer this question with a clear “yes.” The project’s title is also the name of a company founded in Los Angeles in the early 1970s.
Specializing in trading and distributing silks, it was headed for decades by Kenneth Wong and his family. Through her multi-sensory works Zhu opens up a multifaceted view of a firm that is distinguished, like its silk products, through its own haptics, style, colors, and values. The people, places, and stories that make up the phenomenon of Oriental Silk form a fascinating, vivid tapestry in which the past and present, art and life, are closely interwoven.
XIAOWEN ZHU (*1986, Shanghai) calls herself a “visual poet and aesthetic researcher.” For her artistic studies she combines diverse materials and media to create an experience that articulates the specific world she inhabits. She lives in Berlin.