Wang Keping

Wang Keping is a contemporary Chinese sculptor, born in Beijing in 1949. As such, he both belongs to the 80s generation, and is a founding member of “The Stars” group, the first avant-garde artist movement in China. He pays no attention to figurative detail, nor is entirely abstract, allowing each piece to release, in a striking manner, its own inner force.

I have known Wang Keping for some time now. Remaining true to himself, he hasn’t changed. Always taciturn, cautious, just a tad distant, one moment he seems enigmatic, the next a benevolent smile lights up his countenance; solid and stocky as his sculptures, he appears straight and reassuring. Like his compatriot Ai Weiwei, he was a dissident from the outset, setting up in Paris in 1984. But he has not forgotten the bases of Chinese philosophy that underlie his sometimes smooth-textured, sometimes scarred figures, heavy and stylised, refined and shuddering with vibrancy, spliced with an orifice in lieu of a mouth. His manual experience is put at the service of piece of wood which is already a sculpture in itself. As he gouges the wood, strange apparitions emerge in his sculpture: figures of mammary excrescences with a sort of cloche head, couples, maternal figures, hunched feminine silhouettes or unfinished torsos, imbued with a hint of primitivism. A powerful, embodied humanity lays the foundations of this sober, meditated œuvre.