Born 1962 Nantong, Jiangsu. Lives and works in London

Jian Jun Xi is endlessly fascinated by power and its relationship to the individual. His works—mostly performances with Cai Yuan under the name Mad for Real—explore subjects ranging from military power (via a scale model of a “Chinese” aircraft carrier) to the power to set artistic value (the pair horsed around on Tracey Emin’s Bed and urinated on Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain urinal). The Empire (2013) reflects with characteristic humour on the Chinese “daydream”, as the artist calls it, of global empire. To him, the central rotunda of the Capitol building—home of the United States Congress—symbolises not ideals such as democracy, liberty or government by consent, but simply “world power”. Rendering the domed white marble hall in unpainted wood at 1:20 scale, Jian Jun Xi imagines it as a comfortable bedroom/den, one in which anyone can relax with their pets and their books while they dream about power. Lest those dreams become too fevered, a video camera watches ceaselessly from on high, beaming images to the sleeper’s Facebook page, perhaps—or to those with the real power.

Artist photo: China Daily

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