“Transcendence and Rén Jiān—Su Xinping and Christopher Le Brun” was Launched

TEXT:Emily Zhou    DATE: 2021.8.18

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Su Xinping, "Walking Man", 4.55×1.3×4.05m, Fiber Reinforce Plastic, 2021, Exhibition View

"Transcendence and Rén Jiān—Su Xinping and Christopher Le Brun” was officially launched in Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning (MoCAUP) on August 5th, 2021. The exhibition sifts through more than ten-year’s creative materials of Su Xinping from China and Christopher Le Brun from the UK, and expands their experiences in terms of cognition and creation of art to a representative modern narration to interpret their works and present them. By doing so, the exhibition intends to discuss the development of the Sino-Western communication of contemporary art as well as the public art education during this era.

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Christopher Le Brun, "See Saw", 160×280cm, Oil on Canvas, 2020

As this is the first show for the 2 artists in Shenzhen, the exhibition presents more than 40 artworks displaying the multiple materials and forms of Su Xinping and Christopher Le Brun, including prints, oil paintings and videos. Besides, two large-scale public sculptures of Su Xinping “Walking Man” and “Gathering” are displayed in the outdoor space of the museum, while the sculpture “Gathering” will be permanently collected by the museum after the exhibition.

“Transcendence and Rén Jiān—Su Xinping", 4'48'', 2021 ©️CAFA ART INFO

The encounter between Su Xinping and Christopher Le Brun in MoCAUP was derived from their common interests in printmaking. As the curator Sun Dongdong mentioned, the two artists have completely different conceptual approaches to printmaking. For Su Xinping, printmaking indicates the physical empirical world; for Christopher, printmaking leads to the world of preliminary perception. Such a difference reflected in artistic practices is not only a divergence of aesthetics, but more importantly, reveals their own different modern narratives. As Transcendence and RénJiān suggests, the tension between spirituality and reality oscillates between lightness and denseness, between agility and bluntness, but as the two pillars of an arch, they finally meet each other at the apex, in the name of art. 1

Yan Weixin, the director of MoCAUP addressed the exhibition in the short article “Platform” stating that Su Xinping and Christopher Le Brun are two artists from different countries and are immersed in different backgrounds. Their identities, nevertheless, are  similar – both are educators from the top art academies in either China and Britain. When their works collide, the cherry-picked results form a harmony in diversity, beauty in summation and transcendental meanings are endowed beyond any individual one. 2

It is reported that the exhibition remains open till September 19th, 2021.


1 Sun Dongdong, Preface of the exhibition “Transcendence and Rén Jiān—Su Xinping and Christopher Le Brun”, MoCAUP, 2021.

2 Yan Weixin, Platform, MoCAUP, 2021.


Su Xinping

Su Xinping is a contemporary Chinese artist. Born in Jining City, Inner Mongolia in 1960, he served in the army in 1977 and graduated from the Painting Department of Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts in 1983. He then obtained a master’s degree from the Printmaking Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1989 and stayed on as a teacher. After serving as the Director of the Printmaking Department and the Dean of the School of Plastic Arts of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, he is currently the Deputy President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts while working as a professor and doctoral supervisor.

Su Xinping 's early experience of living on a prairie and in military service inspired him to have a profound understanding of the loneliness of the earth, the sky and the soul. From the 1980s to the 1990s, Su Xinping created a large number of prints reflecting these themes, showing the unusual strength of his artistic spirit and his will in life. Being aware of the pains of social transformation in China, Su Xinping began to use direct painting methods such as oil paintings and sketches to explore social realities such as human desire, spirituality and an ideological crisis. As his understanding of his working methods gradually deepened, Su Xinping incorporated self-reflection and inquiry about traditions into his artistic practices, which led to examinations about the intertextual relationship between art, daily life and the effective synchronization of time and thinking.

His works have been collected by the British Museum, Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University, Museum Ludwig, Germany, Portland Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Fukuoka Art Museum, National Museum of Australia, National Art Museum of China, Shanghai Art Museum, and Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Christopher Le Brun 

Christopher Le Brun has been a celebrated British painter, printmaker and sculptor since the early 1980s; he was also an instrumental public figure in his role as President of the Royal Academy of Arts in London from 2011 to 2019. His practice over the past two years has focused on a series of abstract works, some light in touch and some involving dense accretions of colour and gesture. His glowing and scintillating surfaces, containing passages both luminous and numinous, are what he describes as ‘primary’ responses to the act of painting, rather than commentaries on life or an homage to previous artists. There are, however, notable references to music and literature, as well as influences from his drawing and printmaking throughout this new work, which represents a singularly rich moment in his 40-year career as an artist.

His work is in many major museum collections including Tate Gallery, London, UK; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA; the British Museum, London, UK; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA; Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland; The Whitworth, Manchester, UK and Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA. Le Brun’s public sculptures include Union (horse with two discs) at the Museum of London; City Wing on the site of the former stock exchange at Threadneedle Street; and The Monument to Victor Hugo on the quayside in St Helier, Jersey.

(Courtesy of Lisson Gallery)



"Transcendence and Rén Jiān-Su Xinping and Christopher Le Brun”

Duration: 2021.08.05-09.19

Venue: Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning (MoCAUP)

Organizer: Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning

Academic Support: Central Academy of Fine Arts

Co-organisers: Central Academy of Fine Arts Art Museum, Central Academy of Fine Arts Science and Technology Art Research Institute, Lisson Gallery, Lingnan Fine Arts Publishing House

Chief Curator: Yan Weixin

Exhibition Consultants: Zhang Zikang, Nicola Togneri, Fan Bo

Curator: Sun Dongdong

General Executive of the Exhibition: Shen Tianshu

Exhibition Supervisors: Yang Kun, Tang Yu, David Tung

Spatial Design: Liang Chen


Translated and Edited by Sue and Emily.

Courtesy of the Organiser (Except for special annotations)