Born 1964, Beijing. Lives and works in Beijing

Shao Fan’s “functional sculptures” reinterpret the classic hardwood furniture of the Ming Dynasty (1370–1650 AD). They may look thoroughly modern, but they are imbued with that era’s Confucian aesthetic of simplicity, serenity, modesty and balance. “Chinese contemporary art must have a Chinese soul,” he says. Adding the non-supportive fifth leg to this table, he narrowed it fraction by fraction until it looked not only harmonious but essential.

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