Sui Jianguo, sculptor, ambassador of Croisements Festival 2017

Sui Jianguo, sculptor, ambassador of Croisements Festival 2017

Chinese sculptor Sui Jianguo was born in 1956 in Qingdao, Shandong Province. He joined the Shandong Academy of Arts in 1980. After graduating, he was made director of the sculpture department.

Art critics have called him a pioneer who ventures to heights far higher than most Chinese sculptors. His sculptures are ingenious fusions of concept and form. The first works of Sui Jianguo are loaded with strong symbolic content on societal and historical subjects. He explores themes such as time and space in his later creations. These works, including the famous Mao Jacket and, more recently, Dinosaur, are based on the wisdom of Chinese genealogy and culture as a means of solving problems.


Faguowenhua : Can you tell us about your relationship with France and French culture? 

Sui Jianguo : The translation of French literature into Chinese has been particularly important. I remember the time when as a child - it was still the beginning of the Cultural Revolution – I was reading a collection of short stories by Guy de Maupassant at my uncle’s home. The stories of Boule de Suif and La Parure left a deep impression on me. After China began opening up, I was able to read more and more French literature. Over time, I became an artist myself and started reading art literature. I deepened my knowledge of the literary and artistic currents which succeeded each other since Impressionism in France: Surrealism, Cubism, Dadaism ... For me, French culture is the source of almost all modernist art. France is a lucky country for me and for my artistic development. In 1999, my art works were exhibited internationally for the first time, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. I was then the only sculptor from China and my work Legacy Mantle immediately attracted everyone’s attention in Europe. In 2003, during the UCCA exhibition in Paris of its collection of contemporary Chinese art, my work Dinosaur, made in China met with great success. In the spring of 2017, my work Blind Portraits was selected for a grand exhibition celebrating the centenary of Rodin's death at the Grand Palais which had just opened. Auguste Rodin embodies the end of classical European sculpture and is at the same time a pioneer of modern sculpture. His works have been exhibited twice in China, in 1995 and in 2015, and have had an immense impact on Chinese sculptors. My series of sculptures Blind Portraits from 2008 draws precisely on the work of Rodin. On March 9, my exhibition Trace opened at the PACE gallery in Beijing. This is a record of nine years of work since the Blind Portraits series. Connoisseurs will clearly see the imprint of Rodin and his artistic thinking on my work in this exhibition.

Faguowenhua : Why did you agree to become an ambassador of the Croisements festival?  

Sui Jianguo : Because of my journey and personal experiences, I feel a particular closeness to France and French culture. From my perspective there is a natural affinity between the two peoples, and between their cultures. Moreover, rich and diverse links tie Chinese culture to that of France. As an artist, I have had the chance to be tied to contemporary French and Parisian culture since the beginning of my career. I have many French friends and it is with pleasure that I contribute to cultural and artistic exchange between the two countries.

Faguowenhua : This year, the Prix Marcel Duchamp, an annual award of a contemporary French or foreign artist residing in France, comes to China. Eight prize-winning artists will be on display in Beijing and Guangzhou? Are there similar initiatives in China? 

Sui Jianguo : There are so many prizes available to young Chinese artists. The young Chinese artists of today are lucky. I hope prizes that transcend cultural and national borders will come next. China must learn to know itself and situate itself within a global context.

 The three "coups de cœur" of Sui Jianguo

High Tension : A look at French Contemporary art seen through eight winners of the Marcel Duchamp Prize
Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mikko Franck 
Thomas Enhco, Piano aux Jacobins 

They support Croisements festival

Cui Jian, composer and singer, ambassador of Croisements Festival
Wang Yabin, dancer and choreogapher, ambassador of Croisements festival
Jia Zhangke, cinematographer and director, ambassador of Croisements festival
Lu Ming, cartoonist and illustrator, ambassador of Croisements festival






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