ARTWORKS

BIOGRAPHY

Born in Beijing in 1949 (the year of the establishment of the People's Republic of China) and raised by a family accomplished in art — his mother is an actress and his father is a writer, Wang Keping is one of the key figures in the most historic art movement in the history of contemporary China.

His youth is marked by the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Enlisted in the army and dispatched into the mountains and rural areas, he first worked in a factory and then turned to novel and play writing. During the time of Red Guard Movement of Cultural Revolution, he survived from the reeducation and gradually found his talent in art.

It was in the domain of sculpture that Wang Keping finds his own path of artistic independence.

As an autodidact, He begins from wood carving with a dream always born in mind -- to work someday on bronze, the material used by the sculpture masters. He created his first work “Long Live Chairman Mao” (1978) with a simple piece of reclaimed wood, rarely seen in that age, this piece represents a polemical image through a huge desperate face, firmly grasping the “Little Red Book” in a raised hand.

In 1979, taking advantage of the Post-Cultural Revolution or “Spring of Beijing”, Wang Keping, along with Ai Weiwei, founded an unofficial anti-conformist artist group named “Xing Xing” (The Stars), notable names among the members including Huang Rui, Ma Desheng and Zhong Acheng. “We had chosen this name – The Stars,” recalled Wang Keping, “because we were the only glimmers who sparkle in the endless night and no matter how tiny they seem from afar, they turn out to be gigantic planets.”

Idol and Silence, the two works he exhibited, aroused much controversy, which later had a large repercussion in the history of Chinese contemporary sculpture — the censorship has getting stricter ever since.

In 1984, he moved to Paris, the homeland of great sculptors, in search for liberty. There, he discovered different wood species and allowed himself to be guided and inspired by the natural forms of the material.

Wang Keping found the possibility of unique expressions in the material. The artist spent as much effort in selecting the suitable wood species and forms as in sculpting: knots and excrescences are thus transformed into animated bodies through the strong inspiration enlightened by this living material.

The combination of the proper simplicity of drawing by the calligraphic gesture and the black patina obtained by the fire (the top layer of the wood burned by the blowtorch hardens more or less according to its density) marks its allusive figures by a radical imprint. “I'm going towards what reveals the manifestation of a presence", he said, willingly laconic. Figures that combine characters of Chinese culture, sensuality and sometimes, even eroticism, reveal “an instinctive feeling of sculptural forms sometimes going as far as burst”.

Marked by a deep search in the essential, his work exalts the female body with his stylized sculptures of voluptuous women but also the animal kingdom with the series of Birds and of Dogs.

Through these topics, he seeks to reach the vital essence of both human and animal forms. Engaged in a sensual and organic interpretation, he prefers the form of abstract figuration, of which the plans are simplified, only the material remains as the origin of the existence of his works.

In the early 1990s, Wang Keping finally began to explore bronze. He chose some of his works and made some modifications to present the eternal beauty of this material — resistant to the passing time with the testimony of the ancient Chinese bronzes that are still preserved today. He redid and reinterpreted the forms in wax and the patina to create a unique rendering, with the boundaries between stone, wood and metal, the sculptor thus becomes the creator.

The bronze then transcends the artist’s sculptures and makes them more remarkable; it gives his work a special place among the collectors and in the largest museums among the bronze works by Rodin, Bourdelle, Moore and many others.

Numerous exhibitions have been dedicated to Wang Keping all over the world and his artistic signature remains unique and emblematic today as a symbol of the birth of Chinese contemporary art.

CURRICULUM VITAE

DECORATIONS / PRIZES
Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature, France, 2015 (Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France, 2015)

HISTORICAL EXHIBITIONS - Museums
1980
Second Exhibition of the Group The Stars, National Art Museum of China
1979
First Exhibition “Wild” of the Group The Stars, in front of the entrance of the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

SOLO EXHIBITIONS - Museums (Selection)
2018
Wang Keping, Simplicity - Nature – Sensuality (Simplicité - Nature – Sensualité), Gallery Nathalie Obadia (Galerie Nathalie Obadia), Brussels, Belgium
2017
Wang Keping, Birds - Harmony of the Forest, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong, China
2015
Wang Keping, Wang Keping, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong, China
2013
Wang Keping, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Arts (UCCA), Beijing, China
2010
The Flesh of Forests (La Chair des Forêts), Museum Zadkine (Musée Zadkine), Paris, France
2008
He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China
1993
Chinese Modern Art Center, Osaka, Japan

GROUP EXHIBITIONS - Museums (Selection)
2017
Happy holidays – Loft Selection, Gallery Loft (Galerie Loft), Paris, France
Art Los Angeles Contemporary 2017, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong, China
2016
Figures, City of Paris Museum of Modern Art (Musée national d'Art moderne), Centre Pompidou (Centre Georges Pompidou), Paris, France
Uli Sigg Collection :Four Decades of Chinese Contemporary Art, M+Museum, Hong-Kong, China
2015
The Civil Power, Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing, China
Huang Rui & Wang Keping: Black & White Cats, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, China
2013
Light before Dawn, Unofficial Chinese Art 1974-1985, Asia Society, Hong-Kong, China
Hot Summer Nights (Group Show), 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong, China
2011
Chinese Artists in Paris (Artistes Chinois à Paris), Museum Cernushi (Musée Cernushi), Paris, France
Blooming in the Shadows, Unofficial Chinese Art, 1974-1985, China Institute, New-York, U.S.A.
2009
Sculptures & Sensuality, Gallery Loft, Paris, France
2008
China Gold, Chinese Contemporary Art (Art Contemporain Chinois), Museum Maillol (Musée Maillol), Paris, France
Origin Point, The Stars 30 Years, Today Art Museum, Beijing, Chine
Go China – Writing on the Wall, Chinese Art from the Eighties and Nineties, Groninger Museum, Groningen, Holland
2007
China Contemporary Art: the long march of the Avant-Garde, Contemporary Art Museum, Gênes, Italy
China Onward, The Estella Collection, Chinese Contemporary Art 1966-2006, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark
2005
Collection of Chinese Contemporary Art Sigg(Chinesische Gegenwartskunst aus der Sammlung Sigg), Kunstmuseum, Bern, Switzerland
2004
China, body everywhere? (Chine, le corps partout?), Museum of Contemporary Art (Musée d'Art Contemporain), Marseille, France   
2001
Modern Chinese Art, The Khoan and Michael Sullivan Collection, Ashmoleum Museum, Oxford, United Kingdom
2000
Fragmented body (Le corps morcelé), Daniel & Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation (Fondation d’art contemporain Daniel et Florence Guerlain), Les Mesnuls, France
At the New Century, 1979-1999, China’s Contemporary Art Works, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chengdu, China
1999
The Fields of Sculpture (Les Champs de la Sculpture), Champs-Elysées, Paris, France
1998
Vision 2000, Chinese Contemporary Paintings and Sculptures (Chinesische Gemälde und Skulpturen der Gegenwart), Stuttgart Art Museum (Kunstmuseum Stuttgart), Stuttgart, Allemagne
1996
Face History (Face à l’Histoire), Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
1992
Sculptures - Frédéric Bleuet, Peter Briggs, Wang Keping, Salle Saint-Jean, Paris City Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Paris), France
1989
Tian An Men, I remember (je me souviens), Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
1983
Painting the Chinese Dream, Chinese Art 30 Years after the Revolution, Brooklyn Museum, New York, U.S.A.



PUBLIC COLLECTIONS (Selection)

City of Paris Museum of Modern Art (Musée national d'Art moderne), Centre Pompidou (Centre Georges Pompidou), Paris, France
Museum Cernuschi (Musée Cernuschi), Paris, France
M+ Museum, Hong Kong, China (Donation Uli SIGG)
Aidekman Art Center, Boston, U.S.A.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, U.K.
Municipal fund for contemporary art (Fonds municipal d’art contemporain), Collection of the city of Paris (Collection de la Ville de Paris), Paris, France
International Sculpture Park, PuYo, South Korea
He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, China
Museum of Asian Contemporary Art, Fukuoka, Japan
Museum of Modern Art, Taizhong, Taiwan
The China Club Collection, Hong Kong
The Olympic Sculpture Park, Seoul, South Korea
Daniel & Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation (Fondation d’art contemporain Daniel et Florence Guerlain), Les Mesnuls, France
Claudine et Jean-Marc SALOMON Foundation for contemporary art (Fondation pour l'art contemporain Claudine et Jean-Marc SALOMON), Annecy, France.

EXHIBITIONS

2018.06.20 – 2018.08.30
New York, USA
2017.09.23 – 2017.10.10
Shanghai, China

PUBLICATIONS