Xu Zhen (b. 1977) is a Chinese multimedia artist living and working in Shanghai, China. He is a prominent young Chinese artist who primarily works with photography, installation art, and video to address social and cultural issues.
Zhen’s pivotal work is the short film Rainbow (1998). This piece shows the impact of Zhen’s bare back being beaten until it turns bright red. The hand striking his back is edited out of the film but the audio of the slapping noise persists. He created this at age 21 and presented it at the Venice Biennale in 2001, making him the youngest Chinese artist to participate in the event. Another important early work is Shouting (1998). In this work he films pedestrians reacting to the noise of him shouting on a busy street. In both pieces Zhen is challenging and shocking the viewer with his behavior.