New work by Sui Jianguo at Pace Gallery in Hong Kong
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New work by Sui Jianguo at Pace Gallery in Hong Kong
Sui Jianguo, Planting Trace · Stone – Dewdrop, 2023. Black marquina, 42-1/8 × 29-1/8 × 41-3/4". © Sui Jianguo. Courtesy Pace Gallery.

HONG KONG.- Pace is opening an exhibition of new work by Sui Jianguo at its Hong Kong Gallery. On view from September 21 to October 26, the show spotlights eight sculptures and 10 works on paper created by the artist this year. 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.

Forthcoming projects by Sui include the release of his first-ever NFT project, titled Nibiru, by Pace Verso, the gallery's platform for integrated Web3 artworks, this fall. Conceptually related to the works Sui will show in Hong Kong, Nibiru centers on an imaginary extra-terrestrial body whose movements through the solar system are influenced by the invisible gravitational pulls of surrounding planets. Viewers of the NFT can move and tilt their cell phones—and zoom in and out of the meteoroid’s surface—to experience the Yin-Yang topology of inner and outer space. Tilting the orientation of the cell phone also enables viewers to orient their own bodies to Earth’s magnetic field, imbuing the work with a game-like, interactive ethos. Nibiru will be available through Pace Verso beginning November 7.

Pace Gallery
Sui Jianguo
September 21st, 2023 - October 26, 2023

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