Since 1992 Austria-based Wu Shaoxiang has been creating sculpture by bending and welding coins, a technique which has been dubbed "coining". With Hong Kong dollars, Austrian Schillings and most recently a coin of the artist's own minting, Wu has created provocative interpretations of both Chinese and Western sculptural forms. In "Coining MoMA", Wu Shaoxiang challenges the way modern art history has been interpreted by the great cultural institutions of the West. Wu has chosen as subjects, for this exhibition, iconic works by artists celebrated in Western modern art history, including Picasso, Brancusi, Giacometti, Moore, and Johns. The works from which he has drawn inspiration were fundamental to his study of modern art as a student and in his eyes were surrounded by a holy aura.

Over the years he has witnessed the repeated reproduction of these works on everything from postcards to scarves to coffee mugs and they have long since lost their "holy light". For him, they have become little more than commercial products, ordinary everyday objects which can serve as subjects for his art. While the resulting sculptures stand as deeply ironic statements on the marketing of art and the commercialization of every aspect of modern culture, they are also objects of beauty. The joining of the coins creates a smooth-skinned golden mesh, which the artist manipulates to create fluid lines and volume. Light plays through the sculptures and across their surfaces.
Wu Shaoxiang was born in Jiangxi Province in China in 1957. His childhood education was interrupted by the Cultural Revolution and delayed until 1978 when he began art studies. These culminated in the mid-80s at the Central Academy of Arts and Design in Beijing. In 1987 "Fine Art of China" magazine named him one of the ten most influential avant-garde artists in China. Wu left China in 1989 and settled in Austria where he established a studio. His sculpture has been exhibited throughout Europe and Asia and pieces have been placed in public and private collections worldwide. Wu Shaoxiang's sculpture has been shown in New York at the International Asian Art Fair since 1998. "Coining MoMA" will be Wu Shaoxiang's first one-man exhibition in the United States.

Other exhibitions

The New Age Cadres, Hong Kong

The New Age Cadres, New York

Words and Images - Recent paintings and sculptures by Wu Shaoxiang

Copyright 2001 by Plum Blossoms Gallery and Wu Shaoxiang. All rights reserved.