These parallel exhibitions bring together a solo exhibition by the artist Geof Oppenheimer with a special show of Auguste Rodin and Bruce Nauman curated by the artist. “People in Reverse” is Oppenheimer’s first solo exhibition in China, featuring new work commissioned by UCCA. It centers on cast statues of three archetypal figures—the businessman, the flag bearer, and the observer—situated within an immersive socio-spatial context built from raw material, images, and mass-produced goods. These sculptures and their environment speak to the growing concerns over symbolism, figuration, and character in the modern social economy. Similar issues are addressed in the accompanying exhibition “The Hysterical Material,” first presented at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, which juxtaposes the works of French sculptor Rodin and American artist Nauman, two preeminent figures in Western art history. It showcases how both artists use the body as a medium to convey extreme emotions, and how their works make visual those feelings that are, by their very nature, overpowering and ineffable.
About the Artist
In his art, Geof Oppenheimer (b. 1973, Washington D.C., lives and works in Chicago) takes up questions of civic value: the ways in which political and social structures are encoded in images and objects, and how meaning is formed in the modern world. Starting from the proposition that formal value is a social value, his projects interrogate the forms and rules of civic discourse as a material, positing art as a space of liberated social dialogue. Trained as a sculptor, Oppenheimer works across multiple mediums, including stage-set video productions and photography. He is an associate professor of practice in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at a variety of venues, such as the CRP, Paris; Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Evanston; MoMA PS1, New York; The Contemporary Museum, Baltimore; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; SITE Santa Fe; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Aspen Art Museum; 4th Athens Biennale; and CAB Art Center, Brussels. His work has been the subject of published writings in Art in America, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and The New Yorker.