“Such is the power of media and communications tools that they can even transcend and conceal truth itself. … Everyone is a victim of hoodwinking.”
Born Changzhou, Jiangsu, 1960
Zhou Xiaohu is a great-nephew of Zhou Enlai. During their only meeting, when the artist was five years old, the Chinese Premier declared: “This kid’s going to lead everyone astray.” As a conceptual artist, Zhou Xiaohu focuses on news media and advertising, which he believes routinely and knowingly lead everyone astray. “I grew up with propaganda machines,” he says. “Whoever gets hold of the loudspeaker gets hold of the power to dictate thoughts.” Renown (2007) presents an example of that process in action. Models of two cameramen and a news reporter, armed with a professional television camera and sound equipment, are filming the artist—or at least a video of the artist talking projected onto a white model of his body. So lifelike are the silicone models that many people approaching the installation stand back and stop talking, imagining that a press conference is in progress. Whether he is mocking journalists, marketers, corporate coaches or historical propagandists, Zhou Xiaohu’s theme is that we live—as the title of one of his early works put it—in “The Age of Lies”.