Florentijn Hofman :Celebrate!

Opening time:2022.8.6
Duration: 2022.08.06 -- 2022.11.13
Location: No.32 Baiziwan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing

Exhibition Preface

Florentijn Hofman places the themes of scale, temporality, play and public engagement at the center of his practice. His works can be read as sculptural essays where subtle subtexts are hidden behind cheeky gestures. Celebrated for his large-scale urban installations, in each of his projects and commissions, Hofman aims to bring attention to something that isn't visible but that is nonetheless present.


‘Celebrate!’ is Hofman’s first large-scale solo exhibition in mainland China. The exhibition presents over 25 new works building upon his successful two-decade-long career. Encircling the theme of celebration, the show presents an immersive experience in which triumph and jubilation reign supreme. All human societies celebrate. They mark with ceremony and ritual, in places and times separated from everyday routine, their triumphs, joys, and even sorrows. A celebration is a public performance that marks an important milestone. After a period of collective introspection brought on by a global pandemic, the artist looks towards finding joy in the act of celebrating and being together, underlining that this is precisely what makes us human.

The exhibition weaves together stories reflecting on the human act of celebration predominantly told through the depiction of animal figures. This methodology builds upon the narrative tradition of fables, with the aim of provoking discussion. We accept and recognize more in an animal character than we would in a human being, for the latter can be easily dismissed as an outlier, as ‘not one of us’. Animals are easily legible and recognizable in both text and image. They are, however, influenced by desires and instincts that we do not necessarily share. This offers them a mystical quality, which draws the viewer in while also engendering the sensation that they can never be fully grasped.


Hofman’s narratives tell a story about our time: about the viewer of art who wants to be entertained, about the world that places entertainment on a pedestal, and about the city that wants to celebrate an icon. But above all, about ourselves, the viewer who encounters a friendly new symbol in the urban environment or in the museum, one that offers space to contemplate if one looks long enough. Ultimately, Hofmans sculptures bring people together and cultivate social interaction among those that encounter them. Deploying this phenomenon as a strategy, the exhibition invites viewers to join in a visual and provocative celebration of life. Deploying a range of giant animals, larger-than-life dolls and interactive installations, with a smattering of festivity and party props abound – the works collectively hold up a mirror, ultimately posing the question: What do we choose to value, and what do we choose to share?


Anouchka van Driel


Florentijn Hofman