The origin and history of art are inextricably linked to the human body. At the beginning, painting was on the body, painting on canvas is a painting on a transferred “body”, and the expression of human form, our undeniable striving and often denied intuition, into a universal language, is an ongoing pursuit of both painters and sculptors to this day.
Staged at the Fosun Art Center, Shanghai, from 14th November to 31st December 2021, the exhibition ‘Body in Time’ seeks to explore time through the presentation of the body, citing our ancient past, present and future through the work of three celebrated international sculptors, Tony Cragg, Sir Antony Gormley, Not Vital, and Marc Quinn, and the painter, Charlie K. Sheard.
In a concise display, we firstly dive into the future with Swiss artist Not Vital’s Head: Alma. Featuring both futuristic form and material in highly polished Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) coating, the result is a lustrous, mirror-like surface, in which the visitors see their own form reflected. Beyond any marking of time and also inviting participation from the viewer, British artist Sir Antony Gormley speaks of his practice as wishing to start “where language ends”. Featuring his acclaimed Blockwork series in cast iron, physical pixelisations with a rising canon of four blocks, each eight times the volume of the one before, Gormley’s Small Ponder III presents impending movement in a moment in time. Following his popular exhibition, Under the Skin at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Art Museum (CAFAM) in the spring of 2019, Body in Time presents British artist Marc Quinn’s eighty bronze cast bread hands on loan from the CAFAM collection – a reference to the link between bread and body at the marking of our AD era. Just as sculpting is physical by its very nature, so too is the process of painting, keenly exemplified by Australian painter Charlie. K. Sheard. Pursuing the transference of bodily energy and emotions into abstract paintings, Sheard constantly works with two models, yet devoid of their representation. Having lectured at The Central Academy of Fine Arts and recently invited to teach painting at the prestigious Peking University, Sheard is highly respected Chinese intellectual circles for his technical prowess and precision; his new paintings reflect his ongoing interest in bodily energy, but with an increasing emphasis on a sensuality of surface.
– Curator: Emily de Wolfe Pettit