- Sui Jianguo, Chinese, 1956
- Born: Qingdao, Shandong Province, China
- Work Locations: Beijing, China
Artist Sui Jianguo reworks cultural symbols to comment on both his journey as an individual and on China’s larger transformation. The artist was a child during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the violent intervention that cut off the country’s rich cultural past. Although the death of Mao in 1976 created a newfound sense of freedom for many artists, it was not until the 1990s that artists began fully utilizing contemporary approaches in their own work. Although many were leaving tradition behind to explore contemporary art practices, Sui Jianguo saw himself as modern interpreter of – not rebel against – classical Chinese and Western art traditions.
For "Discobolus", Sui chose two iconic symbols, the Chinese Zhongsan suit made famous by Mao and the ancient Greek statue of a discus-thrower (attributed to the sculptor Myron), and transformed them into a contemporary work of art that combines both traditions. "Discobolus", the ancient Greek statue depicting a muscular athlete throwing a discus, is one of the most well-known works in the western canon. Sui took this classic sculpture and clothed him in the Chinese jacket commonly associated with Mao, creating a work that merges East and West.
Sui Jianguo was born in 1956 in Qingdao, China. He lives and works in Beijing. He graduated from the Shandong Institute of Fine Arts in 1984 and received an MFA from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1989.
- "Showing Off: Recent Modern and Contemporary Acquisitions"—Denver Art Museum [05/17/2015 - 01/03/2016]