Lives and Works: Paris
Wang Keping was born in Beijing, China in 1949 and has lived in Paris since 1984. He is a founding member of ‘The Stars’ (Xing Xing), together with Huang Rui, Ma Descheng, Li Shuang and Ai Weiwei, Wang set the stage for avant-garde art in China. Wang is primarily a sculptor of wood and is inspired by the figurative form, both female and male. He strives towards simplicity, creating symbols of human nature and sensuality.
Like most Chinese artists of his generation, Wang is self-taught. He started out marking political sculpture as part of the charged environment of late 1970s in Beijing. After moving to France in 1984, he shifted to a more naturalistic way of work. Wang’s way of working with wood is trial and error: he first performs a necessary first carving, which allows him to control where the wood will crack during its three-year drying period. When the wood is dry and ready, Wang craves it and chisels it into shape. When the sculpture is not successful, it will end up in the fireplace. Wang also bucks the current trend of delegating artistic production to studio assistants, completing his sculptures entirely on his own. As the artist has put it, “Making a sculpture is like making love to a woman. No one can do it for you, nor would I want others to take my place.”
Wang’s work has been exhibited widely around the world, including in the Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée Maillol, and Musée Zadkine in France; in the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland; in the Brooklyn Museum in the US; and in the National Art Museum of China and He Xiangning Art Museum in China. His work has been acquired by several important international art institutions, including the Fonds Municipal d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Olympic Games Park, Seoul; National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taizhong; M+ museum, Hong Kong; Musée Cernuschi, Paris; and Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
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