Richard Deacon is a leading British sculptor and a recipient of the Turner Prize. His first solo exhibition in China will take place at Beijing Commune on March 17, presenting new works from two of his ongoing series, “Custom” and “Alphabet.” Richard Deacon began creating art in the 1970s. In 2014, Tate Britain held a major retrospective of his works. Deacon has visited China several times to realize exhibitions, commissions and educational programs. He will be giving a talk at UCCA on the challenges and possibilities of contemporary sculpture, using his own experience as a point of departure, and engaging in dialogue with longtime collaborators Sui Jianguo and Liang Shuo. The British curator and art critic Karen Smith, who is one of the earliest observers of and participants within contemporary Chinese art, will also add her voice to their dialogue.
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Born in 1949, Richard Deacon received his BA from St Martin’s School of Art, London in 1972, and his MA from the Royal College of Art, London in 1977. The artist currently lives and works in London. Richard Deacon won the Turner Prize in 1987. A major retrospective titled “The Missing Part” was shown at the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg, in 2010. Tate Britain mounted a major survey of his work in 2014. Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland held a ten-year survey of his works, “On The Other Side,” in 2015. A retrospective of his prints and drawings was presented at the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany in 2016.
Karen Smith is a British art critic, curator and art historian specializing in contemporary art in China since 1979. Karen Smith has lived in Beijing since 1992. She joined the academic advisory board of OCAT Shenzhen in 2005, and was appointed executive director of OCAT Xi’an in 2012. Karen Smith has authored books including the series As Seen (begun in 2012) and Nine Lives: The Birth of Avant-Garde Art in New China (2008). She curated group exhibitions at Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2016); Rockbund Art Museum Shanghai (2013) and Tate Liverpool, UK (2007).
Sui Jianguo (b. 1956) received his MFA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts Sculpture Department in 1989. He has served as professor, director of the Sculpture Department, and deputy director of the School of Plastic Arts at the Central Academy of Fine Art. He currently lives and works in Beijing. Sui Jianguo’s solo shows include “Sui Jiangu” (Pace Beijing, 2012), and “Restrained Power: Sui Jianguo’s Works” (MOCA, Singapore, 2012). His work has been featured in the 57th Venice Biennale, “Memory and Contemporaneity” (2017). The Sui Jianguo Foundation was officially established in 2016 with the mission of promoting scholarship—based in China, yet internationally oriented—on the artist, and creating a system for collection of his works.
Liang Shuo (b. 1976, lives and works in Beijing) graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2000, majoring in Sculpture. From 2002 to 2007, he taught Sculpture at Tsinghua University’s Academy of Arts and Design. From 2005 to 2006, he was an artist-in-residence at the Royal Academy of Art, in the Netherlands. He has taught at the Sculpture department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts since 2009. Jiang Shuo’s recent solo show “DISTANT tantamount MOUNTAIN” was held at Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden in 2017. His works have been featured in numerous exhibitions, including the 9th Shanghai Biennale, “Reactivation” (2012); the 3rd Shanghai Biennale (2000); and the Busan Biennale (2004).
The New Century Art Foundation
Co-founded by art collectors Mr. Wang Bin and Mr. Xue Bing, the New Century Art Foundation (NCAF) is a non-profit foundation committed to the study and promotion of Chinese contemporary art. Registered and accredited by the civil affairs bureau, NCAF aims to carve out more and better platforms for the promotion of Chinese contemporary art, and to promote the development of Chinese contemporary art within the existing art system through high-quality research.
Beijing Commune was founded in 2004, holding its inaugural show in Cao Changdi; it relocated to 798 in 2006. Since its inception, it has been dedicated to promoting the local art scene, presenting group shows exploring various artistic currents in China. It has also held watershed solo exhibitions for several important Chinese artists. For the past 10 years, it has focused on close collaboration with emerging artists, as well as curators domestic and abroad, serving as a major player in China’s contemporary cultural world.