Wu Shaoxiang

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Wu Shaoxiang (Chinese: 吳少湘; pinyin; Wu Shaoxiang) is a Chinese contemporary sculptor.


Wu Shaoxiang was born in 1957 in Jiangxi Province, China.[1] Having only received ongoing formal education until he was twelve, Wu was sent to work on a farm to lay bricks and saw wood for rafters. It was only when he turned twenty-one did he begin his career as a sculptor.[2]

From 1978-1982 Wu studied sculpture at the Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute, then left to work at the China National Design Association in Beijing for two years. From 1984-1987, he pursued postgraduate studies under the sculptor Professor Zheng Ke, at the Central Academy of Arts and Design, now the Academy of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.[1] An important figure in China's New-Wave art movement, Wu won the first scholarship awarded by the city of Beijing, and was named one of the "Ten Most Influential Chinese Avant-Garde Artists" by Fine Arts of China (the most important magazine at the time for modern art published in China). After graduating with a master's degree, he spent a year teaching as a professor at the school. In 1989, Wu and his sculptor wife, Jiang Shuo, and their three-year-old son immigrated to Austria, where the couple established a joint studio. Since then, Wu has exhibited extensively in America, Asia, and Europe. His works are also widely collected by museums and prestigious institutions worldwide.[3]

Early Works[edit]

Wu's work first caught the attention of the public through several modern abstract sculptures, which were commissioned for several locations, including a Beijing park, the Theatre of the Chinese Association of the Arts, and the Central Academy of Science. In his early stage as a sculptor, Wu was influenced by Western modernism. His "Outcry Series" created during the mid-1980s resembled the stylistic representation of sculptors such as Arp and Brâncuși, and also the artistic method of Chinese impressionism. This series was noted at the time for their abstract presentation of the female body, and representation of sexual consciousness. It was made mainly of cast copper, which was polished to diminish the strength of the material, creating a smooth and luminous tactile experience. Such work indicated the lack of exploration in sexual themes in China, establishing Wu as an artistic pioneer at that time.[2]

Wu was also an active participant in the Chinese modern art circle. He wanted to provide greater international exposure to Chinese art, and avidly explored and incorporated contemporary ideas in his works. In this sense, he was much bolder compared to his more conservative and conventional contemporaries who were hesitant in addressing sexual themes. As a result, he helped to begin a new chapter in modern Chinese art history.[2]

While in Austria, Wu believed that the European country possessed a more liberal environment that could allow him the freedom to artistically express himself. He attempted to detach himself from the art movement in China, but found it a challenge. This made Wu feel like a foreigner towards his home country, and in the country he now inhabited. Thus, it would become inevitable for Wu to return to his identity, however, he would do so whilst keeping a global perspective. Some themes he explored included the concept of Yin and Yang – which relates to Chinese philosophy and traditional Chinese medicine.[2]

Later Works[edit]

Living abroad allowed Wu to become more familiar with the relationship between art and commerce. He also witnessed what he felt were the detrimental effects of globalization on art. He noticed that during museum visits, the artists he respected as important voices of change were commercialized and degraded to brand names, as their creations were reproduced on all types of consumer products.[2]

The development of his past work along with a greater awareness of consumer culture would enable Wu to create his "Coin Series" in 1991, where he used coins as a medium for sculpting. For example, Apple, made up of 45,000 Austrian shilling coins, is recorded in The Guinness Book of Records in 1995 as the first and biggest coin sculpture in the world.[2]

He uses coins to produce interpretations of both Western and Chinese sculptural forms, including Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Bill Gates, the Greek Goddess of Love, Venus, the logo of McDonald's, and a can of Coca-Cola. This would allow him to convey a strong social message, and to establish his individual artistic signature on the international art stage, earning him prominent recognition.[2]

In 2001, for his first solo exhibition in the United States at Plum Blossoms gallery in New York - Coining MOMA, Wu Shaoxiang rendered with wielded coins his own representation of the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art, for example works from Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Aristide Maillol, and Jasper Johns.[4] In doing so, he was indicating that enterprises such as MoMA were increasingly driven by business, carrying out nationwide publicity campaigns and reproducing famous works on gift items for sale in museum shops. In effect, they had reduced artistic images to commercial images.[2]

In his latest work, the "Walking Wealth" series, Wu continues to explore the theme of wealth and modern consumer culture, though this time using a new form of innovative sculptural representation - life-sized human figures made out of bronze-cast US dollar notes. With their unique body language and presentation, these anonymous figures are amusing commentaries on mankind's seemingly immense hunger for monetary fulfillment. Wu once again demonstrates his talent in incorporating form and concept in novel and remarkable ways.[2]

Selected Solo Exhibitions and Projects[edit]

  • Two and Three Dimension, joined by Chen Xiaoyu, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China, 1985
  • Sculptures, Central Academy of Arts and Design, Beijing, China, 1987
  • Dream, China National Art Gallery, Beijing, China, 1988
  • Sculptures and Paintings, City Hall Gallery, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1990
  • Sculptures and Paintings, Gallery Akzent K, Stuttgart, Germany, 1991
  • Sculptures, Gallery d' Art Teroema, Florence, Italy, 1991
  • Apple, Messe Palast, Vienna, Austria, 1991
  • Sculptures and Paintings, Gallery Burg Montendorf, Salzburg, Austria, 1991
  • Sculptures and Paintings, Raiffeisen Gallery, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1991
  • Joint exhibition with Jiang Shuo, Culture House, Knittelfeld, Austria, 1991
  • Sculptures and Paintings, Gallery Nemenz, Judenberg, Austria, 1992
  • Sculptures and Paintings, Gallery Zentrum, Graz, Austria, 1993
  • Sculptures and Paintings, Europe House, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1993
  • Recent Sculptures, Plum Blossoms Gallery, Hong Kong, 1994
  • The Art of Coining, Hanart Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan, 1995
  • Sculptor, The Rotunda, Exchange Square, Hong Kong, 1996
  • Wu Shaoxiang-New Works, Gallery Kolly, Graz, Austria, 1996
  • Wu Shaoxiang and Jiang Shuo, Gallery Zentrum, Graz, Austria, 1997
  • Wu Shaoxiang and Jiang Shuo, Shellanda Company, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1997
  • Wu Shaoxiang, Gallery Daghofer, Leoben, Austria, 1998
  • Blander and Wu Shaoxiang, Funda Gallery, St.Veit/GL, Austria, 1998
  • Wu Shaoxiang, Gallery Dida, Graz, Austria, 1999
  • Red Memory, Plum Blossoms Gallery, Hong Kong, 1999
  • Sculptures and Paintings, Salzburg Art Fair, Salzburg, Austria, 1999
  • Sculptures and Paintings, Gallery Synarte, Klagenfurt, Austria, 2000
  • Coining, AAI Gallery, Vienna, Austria, 2001
  • Wu Shaoxiang and Jiang Shuo, Schloss Wolfsberg, Wolfsberg, Austria, 2001
  • Coining MoMA, Plum Blossoms Gallery, New York City, USA, 2001
  • Sculptures and Paintings, Schloss Gabelhofen, Fohnsdorf, Austria, 2003
  • Chase, Linda Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2006
  • Chase, Linda Gallery, Singapore, 2006
  • Jiang Shuo and Wu Shaoxiang Exhibition at Songzhuang Museum, Beijing, China, 2007

Group exhibitions[edit]

  • Jiang Xi Province Art Exhibition, Jiang Xi Revolution Museum, Nanchang, China, 1981
  • National Art Academy's Drawing Exhibition, China Art Academy, Hangzhou, China, 1981
  • New Works from Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute, Jingdezhen, 1982
  • Ceramics Museum, Jingdezhen, China, 1982
  • National Sculpture Exhibition, China National Art Gallery, Beijing, China, 1986
  • Works by Young Beijing Artist, China National Art Gallery, Beijing, China, 1987
  • Contemporary Chinese Fine Art, Toronto Exhibition Hall, Toronto, Canada, 1987
  • Excellent Chinese Urban Sculptures, China National Art Gallery, Beijing, China, 1987
  • Tradition and Modern - New Sculptures, China National Art Gallery, Beijing, China, 1987
  • 30 Years The Central Academy of Arts & Design, Central Academy of Arts and Design, Beijing, China, 1988
  • Avant-garde China, China National Art Gallery, Beijing, China, 1989
  • New Expressionism in China, China National History Museum, Beijing, China, 1989
  • Joint exhibition with Svetnik, Velden Art Centre, Velden, Austria, 1990
  • Packaged Art, Bündner Art Museum, Chur, Switzerland, 1990
  • International Art Exhibition, Stadgarden Gallery, Norden, Germany, 1990
  • The Spirit of Times, Gallery Hinteregger, St. Pölten, Austria, 1993
  • New Trends Art Hong Kong, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, 1994
  • Tresors Singapore, World Trade Centre, Singapore, 1994
  • Art Asia, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, presented by Plum Blossoms Gallery, Hong Kong, 1994
  • Art Asia, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, 1995
  • Budapest Art Expo, Budapest, Hungary, 1995
  • Table for Two, LKF Gallery, Hong Kong, 1996
  • The Collector's View, Hanart Gallery, Hong Kong, 1996
  • The International Asian Art Fair, The Armoury, New York, USA, 1997
  • Contemporary Austrian Painter, The Rotunda, Exchange Square, Hong Kong, 1997
  • The International Contemporary Art Fair, Palace Degli Affari, Florence, Italy, 1998
  • Contemporary Austrian Painter, The Rotunda, Exchange Square, Hong Kong, 1998
  • The International Contemporary Art Fair, Los Angeles, USA, 1999
  • Chinese Figure, Hanart Gallery, Hong Kong, 2000
  • The International Asian Art Fair, The Armoury, New York, USA, 2000
  • The 20th Century Art, The Armoury, New York, USA, 2000
  • Goedhuis Contemporary, London, United Kingdom, 2000
  • The International Asian Art Fair, The Armoury, New York, USA, 2001
  • The International Pavilion of Palm Beach, Art Palm Beach, Florida, USA, 2001
  • Salon de Mars, Geneva, Switzerland, 2001
  • The International Asian Art Fair, Lincoln Art Centre, New York, USA, 2002
  • Configurations, Plum Blossoms Gallery, New York, Hong Kong, 2002
  • International Biennial of Contemporary Art Austria, Hüttenberg, Austria, 2002
  • The International Asian Art Fair, The Armoury, New York, USA, 2003
  • Sculptures, Elizabeth Weiner Fine Art Gallery, Santa Monica, California, USA, 2003
  • ArtSingapore 2006, Singapore, 2006
  • Shanghai Art Fair 2007, Shanghai, China, 2007
  • ARTSingapore 2007, The Contemporary Asian Art Fair, Singapore, 2007
  • Art Beijing 2007, Beijing, China, 2007
  • China International Gallery Exposition 2007, Beijing, China, 2007

Selected Commissions & Collections[edit]

  • Spring, Bin River Park, Beijing City Government, Beijing, China, 1986
  • The Four Feelings, China Association of letters and Arts, Beijing, China, 1987
  • The See of Knowledge, Central University of Finance, Beijing, China, 1987
  • Masks, Beijing International Hotel, Beijing, China, 1987
  • Bath, The Central Academy of Arts and Design, Beijing, China, 1987
  • Victory, The Revolution Monument, Shijiazhuang City, Shijiazhuang, China, 1988
  • City Symbol Sculpture, Luzhu City, China, 1988
  • Meditation, Europe Sculpture Park, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1988
  • Family (fountain), local government, St Veit/Glan, Austria, 1989
  • Gentle Breath, Austrian National Bank, Vienna, Austria, 1990
  • Dancing Spirit, Stroh Centre, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1990
  • Sitting Girl, Treibach Sport Centre, Treibach, Austria, 1991
  • Heavenly Dog, Hardy Collection Museum, Pörtschach, Austria, 1991
  • Turning Figure, Karnten State Culture Council, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1991
  • Apple, National Bank, Vienna, Austria, 1992
  • Hand (Fountain), Köck Villa, Velden, Austria, 1992
  • Telephon, Gallery Akzent K, Stuttgart, Germany, 1992
  • Inner Movement, DAF Aichwalder, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1993
  • Flutist, House Hinteregger, St, Pölten, Austria, 1993
  • Turning Figure, City Government, St.Veit/Glan, Austria, 1993
  • Window, Raiffeisen Lands Bank, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1993
  • The Seed of Jade, RBB Bank, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1994
  • The Great Venus of 20th Century, Wing on Art Collection St. Paul, De Veuce, France, 1994
  • Head, Klagenfurt City Gallery, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1994
  • The Great Venus of 20th Century, New World Centre, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 1995
  • The Moon, Renaissance Hotel, Hong Kong, 1995
  • Winged Source (fountain), Ford Sintsching, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1995
  • Banana, Hanart Gallery, Hong Kong, 1995
  • Gentle Breath, New World Hotel, Shenzhen, China, 1995
  • Family (fountain), Starmann Company, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1996
  • Enjoyable (fountain), County Attendant Centre, County Government, Moosburg, Austria, 1996
  • Torso, Schwarzneger Art collection, Los Angeles, USA, 1996
  • The Moon, LKH 2000 Sculpture Park, Karnten State Government, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1997
  • Gentle Breath, Björn Borg Collection, Stockholm, Sweden, 1997
  • Coin, Control Bank, Vienna, Austria, 1997
  • Venus, RBB Bank, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1997
  • Sepe, State Icehockey Hall, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1997
  • Goddess, Leoben City Government, Leoben, Austria, 1998
  • Venus, RBB Bank, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1998
  • Cloud, Villa Borovnik, Ferlach, Austria, 1998
  • Goddess, Beijing Silver Tower, Beijing, China, 1998
  • Mao, Venus From British Museum, Crow Art Museum, Dallas, USA, 1999
  • Head From Gugenheim, Karnten State Government, Austria, 1999
  • Man On Peach, Hypo Landesbank, Klagenfurt, Austria, 1999
  • Fountain, Villa Ried, St.Veit, Austria, 2000
  • Deng Xiaoping Souvenir Badge, Wadsworth Collection, New York, USA, 2001
  • Patrick, Schloss Pakein, Grafenstein, Austria, 2001
  • Circulate, Volksbank Karnten Sud, Klagenfurt, Austria, 2001
  • Pomegrante, Barmherzigen Bruder Hospital, St. Veit, Austria, 2001
  • Harmonious (fountain), Ebental District Government, Ebental, Austria, 2002
  • Harmonious (fountain), Wolkensberg Foundation, Klagenfurt, Austria, 2002
  • Torso From Louvre, RBB Bank Spittal, Spittal an der Drau, Austria, 2002
  • Clouds VI, Celebrity Cruises, Miami, USA, 2002
  • Head From British Museum, Bowl, Torso, Cyber Club, Hong Kong, 2003
  • Family III (fountain), Singulus, Umag, Croatia, 2003
  • Coining MoMA- Brâncuși, Tree, H.M.Z. Foundation, Fohnsdo, 2003


  1. ^ a b "Wu Shaoxiang" Zum Seitenanfang Galerien
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Markbreiter, Robin:"Chinese Sculptor: Wu Shaoxiang" Arts of Asia
  3. ^ "Wu Shaoxiang" Linda Gallery
  4. ^ Balsa, Josette.: "Carving the Way" Hong Kong Tatler