Sui Jianguo (b. 1956, Qingdao, China) received a BA in the Fine Arts Department from the Shandong University of Arts in 1984 and an MA in the Sculpture Department from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1989, where he currently presides as the Head of the Sculpture Department. He has been praised by art critics for being a “pioneer venturing to the farthest reaches of Chinese sculpture.” Sui Jianguo’s art explores his unique understanding and recognition of creation, form, diverse media, alternative methods, and space-time. Sui Jianguo’s sculpture succeeds in bringing forth introspection on the artistic process in modern China. Whether it be the Realism in his early works or the classic shapes in his later Mao Jacket and Dinosaur pieces, both rely on the wisdom of native Chinese genealogy and channels of culture to serve as ways to solve problems, functioning as outlets.
THE PACE GALLERY, BEIJING is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Beijing-based artist SUI JIANGUO with nearly 30 works dating from 1987 to the present. Sui is one of the most important Chinese contemporary artists and is widely considered, as Huang Zhuan states, the “Chinese sculptor who took the Conceptual route the earliest and the farthest.” This will be Sui’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
In this era of great change and uncertainty, Sui’s oeuvre is imbued with interpretations of “force,” pressures that are rooted internally and conflicts of external resistance. Through intimate contact with objects, the artist expresses the infinite vitality of “formal” creation. With constant experimentation, Sui explores the complex emotional relationships between man and material, pushing Chinese contemporary sculpture into formal abstraction.
In 1987, Sui began to focus on the conceptual and symbolic aspects of materials. Earth Force, an installation consisting of 20 boulders each weighing roughly 100 kilograms, creates resistance of force between two types of rigidity by entangling each stone in a web of ribbed steal. First presented in Beijing in 1992, this work instantly became a striking icon of modern Chinese sculpture.
Beginning in 1997, Sui shifted towards an exploration of visual and symbolic images of political significance, most notably with the “Mao jacket.” Known in China as the Sun Yatsen Suit, the Mao jacket was at first associated with the cultural avant-garde, but later became the symbol of the “revolution” as everyone from government officials to intellectuals donned the jacket as an expression of the abandonment of individuality and fusion into a unified society. Sui treats this subject as a medium rather than a target of criticism, releasing the excitement and inhibition it represents in order to satirically express the conflict between escape and repression.
In 2007, Sui’s art entered a more formalistic phase. Motion and Tension (2009) is a temporal piece, changing its formal structure with each exhibition while demonstrating the power tremendous mass has to intimidate. A new series by Sui will be revealed in this exhibition.
Sui Jianguo (b. 1956 in Qingdao, Shandong province) received a BA in the Fine Arts Department from the Shandong University of Arts in 1984 and an MA in the Sculpture Department from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1989, where he currently presides as the head of the Sculpture Department. He has participated in many international group and solo exhibitions at such institutions as Museum Beeldenaan Zee, The Hague, The Netherlands; Today Art Museum, Beijing, China; Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan; Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Manila, The Philippines; as well as the 2010 World Expo, Shanghai, China.