隋 建 国
Sculptor, Administrator, *1956 Qingdao, Shandong, lives in Beijing
Sui Jianguo, 2010, photo cafa
Photos from Sui Jianguo's Website
Sui grew up in a working class home in Qingdao, with neither of his parents having any kind of formal schooling. After a few years of local classes in traditional Chinese painting, Sui decided to seek admission to the Shandong Institute of Fine Arts, where he majored in sculpture. In 1984 he received a BA from the Shandong University and an MA in the Sculpture Department from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing in 1989.
Today he presides as Director over the Sculpture Department of CAFA. It is thanks to him that abstract and conceptual sculpture have been accepted by the Chinese authorities. He is one of the most influential administrators and a respectable sculptor in 21st century China.
The elitist values of Chairman Mao became a central almost spiritual influence on Sui's early life. To rise to the chairmanship of CAFA's sculpture department, he must have been a member of the Party, although this is not mentioned in any of his biographies. During Deng Xiaoping's more liberal reign contact with the June 4th Movement (六四运动) and the Tiananmen debacle of 1989 led him to make increasingly “radical” and “violent” artwork. Clever and careful but inherently honest Sui managed successfully to negotiate the narrow path between government control and artistic freedom.
Sui is best known for two
sculptures: Mao's Jacket and Dinosaurs. Both are symbolic. Mao's
Jacket (100x30 cm in heavy cast bronze) is empty, a 'Windbag', his
spirit has vanished into thin air. Sui had six copies cast, which
sold in Europe and Hong Kong - a sensation in 1997. He recast the
jacket in fiberglas, fuller and bigger.... Of the Dinosaurs he must
have had hundreds made in various shapes. A closer scrutiny of the
sculpture shows that the dinosaur carries an inscription on its
chest: MADE IN CHINA, which became the banner of Sui's next campaign.
- He got rich!
Mao asleep on a topographical bed of 20'000 dinosaurs shows that Sui has not lost his humor - or is it sarcastic irony?
After 'Made in China' (not shown neon advertisements) Sui took the trouble of casting well-known classical Greek and Renaissance scuptures in the Beijing museum in fiberglass – fully dressed in Mao suits. Here the irony escapes me. A return to his Earthly Forces - some internally motorized, some in cages - looks artistically more interesting.
One of his latest sculptures on sale
by Pace Galleries is a gigantic head of a blindfolded man which
dwarfs the now smartly dressed artist.
An identical copy, No. 9, graces the lawn in front of the IG-Farben-Industries-AG Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany...