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Sui Jianguo

21 September 2023 - 26 October 2023

Free

EVENT DESCRIPTION

Pace is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Sui Jianguo at its Hong Kong Gallery. On view from September 21 to October 26, the show will spotlight eight sculptures and 10 works on paper created by the artist this year. An opening reception for the exhibition—which Sui will attend—will be held at the gallery on September 20 from 6 to 8 p.m.

A leading figure in Chinese contemporary sculpture, Sui has developed his practice over the course of more than 30 years. Bringing a deep knowledge of materials and an interdisciplinary approach to his work in sculpture, Sui explores new ideas and directions in the medium while also honoring its ancient origins. In recent years, he has made use of tools like 3D scanning and digital engraving to create new phenomenological effects in his sculptures, inviting varied interpretations and readings.

For the new series on view, Sui continues to use the 3D scanning data he has been documenting since 2008 – capturing the details of the artist’s palm in its shape and texture – in his sculptures of recent years. These earlier works serve as lasting memorials to the instantaneous movements of Sui’s hands at the moment they grasp the clay, transforming this action into a kind of substitution for a temporary existence. In Sui’s view, the discourse around sculpture has never been divorced from monumentality, which brings the illusion of permanence to the ephemerality of life. However, like the paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise, this commemorative object can never catch up with the grasping that ends at the same time it begins. In this sense, the real, concrete, and detailed sculpture in front of the artist represents a vanished nothingness, a “portrait of void.”

Unlike that previous series, “Garden in the Cloud”, which experimented with scale, Sui’s new sculptures apply the artist’s exploration of technology to natural stone such as white marble. Considered the most traditional material in the long history of sculpture, marble gives these new works a certain materiality and classicism that is alien to the digital age. Using high-precision digital engraving technology, the artist works with automated robotic appendages to restore and enlarge details. He intentionally leaves the rough, original surface on the partial side of the polished stone, evoking the ancient memories of mankind rooted in the depths of the material.

Rendered in brass, stainless steel, cast bronze, white marble, or black marquina, each of Sui’s new sculptural works has entirely unique physical characteristics that evoke the audience’s physical experience and perception of time and space. For Sui, sculpture, as a mediator of perception, can activate the richness of the senses and remind people that their bodies are part of the natural world.

ABOUT THE ARTIST / ORGANISER

Sui Jianguo (b. 1956, Qingdao, Shandong Province) graduated from the Fine Arts Department of the Shandong University of the Arts in 1984, and received his MFA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts Sculpture Department in 1989. He currently lives and works in Beijing. He is a senior professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. According to art critics, Sui Jianguo is regarded as “the earliest Chinese sculptor in conceptualism and the one who went the furthest.” During his artistic practice for over forty years, Sui Jianguo has unique insight into many facets of artistic exploration, such as creative ideas, form, medium, execution and the expressions of time and space. His sculptures deftly blend concept and form. Many of his works are large-scale and achieve great sensory impact. The artist has taken part in numerous group and solo exhibitions, including Echo of System: Sui Jianguo 1997–2019 in 2019 at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, System: Sui Jianguo 2008–2018 in 2019 at OCAT Shenzhen, the group exhibition The Allure of: Matter Material art from China in 2019 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Rodin: The Centennial Exhibition in 2017 at Grand Palais, Paris, Sui Jianguo: Blind Portrait in 2014 at Central Park, New York, Sui Jianguo’s Discus Thrower in 2012 at the British Museum, and The Hague Under Heaven: Sui Jianguo Sculpture in 2011 at the Museum Beelden aan Zee, the Blickachsen 9 in Frankfurt in 2013, Reactivation – 9th Shanghai Biennale at Power Station of Art in 2012, the Sculpture Project of the Expo at the World Expo Shanghai 2010, Boulevard Fashion Accidentally in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, in 2007, and Susi: key to Chinese art today, future & fantasy at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila in 2006.

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