NABUQI: A Question is Also a Form of Sculpture

Can an exhibition also be a form of sculpture, or, perhaps, can a question?

Curated by Victor Wang
M WOODS 798, BeijingMarch 22 - June 30, 2024

Take a step back with M WOODS as we circle around the first major mid-career survey of local Chinese artist Nabuqi—a comprehensive exhibition that when seen from one angle functions as sculpture, however, when viewed from another a ‘sculptural study’ appears with the shift of gaze, one that explores a decade of her artistic inquiry into sculpture and its transformation amidst the rise of manufactured and mass-produced goods.

Curated by Victor Wang, M WOODS’ Artistic & Executive Director, and developed closely with the artist over the past year, this experimental mid-career survey unfolds as a multi-sided object. Further, on each surface of this object, a series of ‘sculptural zones’ materialize, developing the ideas and questions Nabuqi has explored through her art. In total, the curator and artist have selected over 40 pivotal works by Nabuqi, that come together to create this unique physical experience.

The exhibition is constructed into two central thematic sections. The first floor of the museum is defined by a new large-scale Central Hall sculpture commission, a microcosm of a larger system that adopts a green screen-like outdoor environment, effectively turning the main gallery into an interactive public space. Here, audiences venture both inside and outside simultaneously, challenging the conventional separation of urban and rural areas. The Central Hall becomes both an interior world unto itself and a manufactured outside world, filtered through a monument that emphasizes the interconnections between public space and sculpture. 

The second floor offers an overview of the last decade of Nabuqi's work. It foregrounds key questions in Nabuqi’s art, such as the ability of sculpture to maintain its unique artistic identity in an era dominated by manufactured and mass-produced goods. Additionally, it provides insights into the artist's continuous exploration of landscapes and nature as sculptural entities, showcased through a diverse presentation of Nabuqi's works. This curated look into the past features a selection of important works from 2014-2024, such as the A View Beyond Space series (NO.1, NO.4, NO.5, and NO.7-12). Featured pieces like A View Beyond Space No.4 and No.8 (Swiss Cheese Plant in a Plate) underscore Nabuqi's investigation into sculpture as a medium for interpreting the complex layers of urbanized nature. A View Beyond Space No.4, a meticulously constructed stainless steel landscape, reminiscent of a city skyline, immediately conjures thoughts of urban environments, representing the continual encroachment of urban structures into natural landscapes. In contrast, the 2022 bronze sculpture No.8 (Swiss Cheese Plant in a Plate) presents a fragmented tropical flowering plant. Its bronze sheen highlights the transformation of the Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) into an aesthetic object, bridging the stark, manufactured world of contemporary sculpture with the domestication and rapid cultivation of this popular indoor house plant. Additionally, the East Gallery on the second floor will showcase the interactive, large-scale work Board Game: Accidental Cases from 2022. This piece emphasizes play and participation, offering a unique, hands-on experience with the artwork.

To accompany the exhibition, a comprehensive exhibition catalogue will be produced, documenting Nabuqi's works alongside a series of commissioned essays. Further, a series of events will also be held at the museum, designed to deepen public engagement with the artist's work and offer a closer examination into her decade-spanning practice.

About Artist

What we perceive as real, the psychological nature of how we engage with objects and material, are running threads throughout the works of

Nabuqi (b. 1984 Inner Mongolia, lives Beijing).

Ranging from handmade sculptures to installations made from assembling readymades, there is a pull for the viewer to engage with detail and context, to be attuned to and reflect upon the spectrum between artificial and actual. As such, Nabuqi creates realms that prompt our understanding of the world around us and engage us in a play of spatial politics. Nabuqi plays with the optics and spectrum of observation, the programming that we accept and also question. Through addressing the familiar - nature, domesticity - the viewer is more deeply engaged in considering ‘presence’, how one perceives what is in front of them at present, what it was before and will be in the future. Nabuqi’s elaborate installations thus point to our epistemological idiosyncrasies and prompt, with wit and theatricality, a reflection on our constructed norms. 

Nabuqi graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2013. Nabuqi’s work has been widely exhibited in notable international exhibitions including: “Everything goes back to square one”, (West Bund Museum, Shanghai, 2022); “Mirror Image: A Transformation of Chinese Identity”, (Asia Society Museum, New York, 2022); “Feeling the Stones: The First Diriyah Biennial” (2021); “Noire Lumière”, (HOW Art Museum, Shanghai, 2020); “Study of Things. Or A Brief Story about Fountain, Brick, Tin, Coin, Wax, Stone, Shell, Curtain and Body”, (Guangdong Times Museum, Guangdong, 2020); 58th Venice Biennale “May You Live In Interesting Times” (2019); “Cold Nights” (UCCA Art Centre, Beijing, 2017); “Absent Paragraph” (Museum Beelden aan Zee, Den Haag, 2017); “Any Ball” (Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, 2017); the 11th Shanghai Biennale “Why Not Ask Again: Arguments, Counter-arguments, and Stories” (2016) and the 11th Gwangju Biennale “The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?)” (2016). She was nominated for the 2016 Art Sanya Huayu Youth Award.

M WOODS Museum is a registered not-for-profit museum in China, with two venues:


798 Art Zone D-06,
No.2 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang, Beijing


Citang Street, Qing Yang District,
Chengdu, Sichuan

(最后入场时间: 18:00) 

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