artist / participant

press release

Considered one of China’s most established contemporary artists and a well-known figure in the international art world, Huang Yong Ping’s large-scale installations and sculptures symbiotically fuse the conceptual language of contemporary western art with traditional Chinese aesthetics and philosophy.

A leading figure of the 1980s Chinese avant-garde movement Xiamen Dada before he moved to Paris in 1989, Huang’s diverse practice explores ideas of cultural difference, identity, migration, colonialism and history as well as institutional critique.

For his first UK solo show, Huang creates a new installation in The Curve that explores the complex imperial history between Britain and China in the 19th century, focusing on the Opium Wars. The exhibition takes its title Frolic from the name of a ship built to transport goods between British India, China and Great Britain, and as such serves as an allegory for modern-day global capitalism. The exhibition begins with an assortment of giant opium needles, palettes and stoves.

The central area of the gallery is occupied by a life size sculpture of Lord Palmerston, who served twice as British Prime Minister and is widely considered as the initiator of the Opium Wars in China in 1840 and 1858. The toppled statue lies on an opium bed smoking an exaggeratedly large opium pipe surrounded by a mass of opium balls, scales and storage boxes.

Huang Yong Ping
New installation that examines the opium wars.