scluptures made from steel

Dialogue with the Emperor Qin’s Warriors- touring exhibition

My sculpture, entitled “Twister” is one of Twenty-seven EU artist’s outputs, which has been selected to represent each EU country by Qu Art, Belgium. The exhibition of work in will tour thirteen significant museums in China between 2011-2013, and will then tour significant museum and gallery venues in the EU.

Atkin, selected by Qu Art, represents the UK. &

The touring exhibition was a major partner in the 2012 Year of Intercultural Dialogue Europe China:

The Intercultural Dialogue Europe China Objectives were as follows:
• To promote and strengthen intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding between the EU and China through cultural exchanges and people to people contacts
• To establish and develop structured and sustainable cooperation between Chinese and EU cultural institutions and organizations
• To establish a sustainable policy dialogue on issues of common interest

The inaugural exhibition was held at Shaanxi Provincial Art Museum, Xi-An: from November 19th, to December 25th, 2011. Support for the exhibition was secured through Qu Art (Belgium) and Shaanxi Provincial Government.

The touring venue in China:
• Shandong Province Art Museum
• Urumuqi Art Museum
• Fujian Art Museum
• Ningbo Art Museum
• Heilongjiang Art Museum
• Changshu Art Museum
• Yichuan Art Museum
• Shaanxi Province Art Museum
• Suzhou Art Museum
• Hubei Museum of Art
• Changchun Sculpture Museum and Park
• Fuzhou Art Museum
• Zhongshan Art Museum

The exhibition makes a contemporary connection between the celebrated Terracotta Warriors in Xi-An, and twenty-seven EU sculptors 21st Century output that references the Emperor Qin’s legacy.

Atkin, along with representatives from 27 other EU ountries, was tasked by the exhibition organizer to create a contemporary sculpture, which reflected on a particular aspect of Emperor Qin’s legacy, “The Terracotta Warriors”, which would then be exhibited to a wide compass of Chinese and EU galleries/museums. There have been many high profile exhibitions of the Terracotta Warriors (British Museum, Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California, Houston Museum of Natural Science, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, National Geographic Society Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto)

Atkin’s existing research into the Terracotta Warriors included the following:

• Study visits to The British Museum Exhibition (2007)
• Site visit to Xian to record first hand the Terracotta Warriors, (2011)
• Utilize his existing research, e.g. AHRB Award, The Machinery of War: Industrial Detritus & the Human Condition: BB.SG/AN5669/APN14701

Interestingly, archaeological excavations have revealed entertainers (dancers and acrobats caught in mid performance), which is a sharp contrast to the static postures of the “Warriors” and contrasts with common hypothesis for the collection: i.e. the Terracotta Warriors are exclusively soldiers protecting the Emperor in the afterlife. The entertainers add a new dynamic to our understanding of the collection. Atkin set himself the following research questions:

• What fresh interpretations of this collection can I reveal within the context of the objectives of the Qu Art project: amplifying an aspect of the collection that is not usually recognized?
• Explore: Acrobats: Entertainment: Movement
• Tunics and uniforms: how can clothing describe apparel and act as a metaphor for the sentinel human body?

Atkin went on to develop the following methodology:

• Experimentation with a range of dressmaker’s contour patters to identify a solitary shape that is a metaphor for the acrobat
• Explore digital technology to manipulate and distort forms to accentuate acrobatics.
• Develop into a range of small-scale models, testing ideas of rotation
• Investigate slicing the full-scale styrene contour pattern horizontally to relate the sculpture to tunic structures
• Rotating each horizontal slice stimulating cognizance of swivelling and movement
• Test a range of ceramic grog with acrylic compounds to simulate ceramic textures

In this way, he developed his sculpture, Twister, which is part of this extensive touring exhibition.

This touring exhibition is part of an ongoing strategy that seeks more connections between the West and the East, utilizing culture as the central plank for discourse that will lead to greater mutual understanding between diverse cultures: fostering social as well as commercial growth. The scope of the exhibition has now been extended to the following EU countries.

o Museum of Art Tallin, Estonia
o Museum Volkerkunde Vienna, Austria
o Contemporary Art Museum Bucharest, Romania
o Art Byzantin Museum Athens, Greece
o Art Museum Firenze, Italy
o Art Gallery of Lisboa University, Portugal
o Art Space of City Hall of Paris, France



Twister - May 2013

Short Biog documentation here

Dialogue with Emperor Qin Warriors document here

Please view a short video clip here


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