Artist Wang Keping, as a philosopher pitted against the conventions of traditional Chinese sculpture, and the foundations of his artistic career, breathes life out of wood. Rather than manipulate the wood into shapes it can not possibly be, Wang sculpts bodies, forms, and animals that appear in the wood as they are. Wang Keping takes a pragmatist approach to navigating the medium of sculpture in a diplomatic manner allowing the wood to warp and twist naturally into its intended creations.
Wang's unique sense of style, places Western curves and ideas in close contact with a Chinese passion for the task at hand, making him exceptionally popular amongst the European vanguard. The artist's ambition and initiatives helped free sculpture from the convention it had laboured under since its conception as an art form in China, paving the way to free choice of style and a return to humanity. It is this element of fluid humanity that has become Wang's defining characteristic. Personnage
(Lot 989) is one of Wang's earlier works, and best exemplifies the importance of stature in a man through a bold, solid stance and territorial posture. A warrior has grown out of the wood, into a reinterpreted idea of a Chinese terracotta soldier. A natural surface and long torso gives way to an enigmatic face, calling out defiantly, while the wood in its element is completely unadulterated. Unscathed by creation, the arms and legs present a secondary support for the heart inside of the sculpture.
Traditional Chinese sculpture saw artists obligated into representing delicate objects, such as figurines, animals, and warriors using raw materials like bronze, jade, and sand. As a founding member of "The Stars" in 1979, the first Chinese non conformist artist group, the artist's choice of wood as a medium was a conscious decision made early on in his life in retaliation against the social scripts of what was deemed acceptable in Chinese sculpture. Since then, Wang Keping has gone onto be collected by the Collection de le Ville de Paris, France, the Museum of Modern Art in Taiwan and holds exhibitions around the world.