JGM. Galerie is pleased to host the personal exhibition of Sui Jianguo, one of the most influential artists on the Chinese contemporary scene.
Born in 1956 in Qingdao in Shandong province, he lives and works in Beijing and has had an outstanding career, regularly exhibiting in China but also in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, and more recently the United States. At the same time he holds an important teaching position in the sculpture department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, which is highly regarded in China. The artist is known for his great interest in sculpture. He constantly uses the symbolic power of materials by working with granite, steel or clay. These invoke not only his subjective experience, but also the recent and gloomy past, which he witnessed first hand and whose misadventures he suffered. His works have a strong material and aesthetic presence and continuously raise questions about contemporary Chinese history and the future of his country and its people. The technical mastery that characterizes his work creates an association and a confrontation between the materials, in resonance with his perception of life and his deep understanding of the history of sculpture.
Sui Jianguo has become known worldwide for using, in the form of exorcism, Maoist iconography and, in particular, the famous jacket of President Sun Yat Sen, worn by the comrade president. Because of this he is perceived as a major interpreter of the way in which economic transition is reflected in art. His past and recent works cause viewers to feel that changes in context create transmutations of meaning. Therefore, one of the key works produced especially for his exhibition in Paris emblematically reflects the way in which the artist repeats complex questions linked to both social and economic changes, while tackling questions on current sculpture. Dream Stone, 2010 was initially a beautiful pebble found on a building site. It was scanned, magnified hundreds of thousands of times and then laser cut and mounted on a honeycomb structure. The artist thus created a colossal work, which deals with both adaptations to the present and the metamorphoses caused by new technologies. It does this without sacrificing its respect of the persistence of cultural values characteristic of national heritage.
The works chosen for this exhibition show a revealing range of the diversity of his approaches to sculpture. They are indisputable evidence of outstanding talent and artistic intelligence. Carefully reproduced in bronze, the Michelangelo-style slave mischievously wears the Mao jacket and is a reminder of the upheaval represented by the contemporary and the paradoxical way that Chinese artists have of using academic tools to conceptualize their views. The rolled up carpet, under dramatic lighting, is a powerful and obsessional work made from thousands of nails, which insidiously deals with violence and the idea of repetition and production. The neon sign, which is purely conceptual, proclaims the now so familiar "Made in China", a symbol of our times, its country struggling to impose its own globalised brands but spreading its global label everywhere and without respite. Lastly in this Paris exhibition Sui Jianguo gives a striking insight into his research on the inexorable passage of time. This is embodied by a performative and abstract work whose size continually increases since the artist feeds it daily and repetitively with a layer of lacquer, another material that draws its origin from tradition.
Ami Barak, Curator