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signed 'PING MING' in Pinyin; dated '63' (engraved on the stand)
steel sculpture
9.5 x 56 x 44.5 cm. (3 3/4 x 22 x 17 1/2 in.)
unique piece
Executed in 1963
Private Collection, USA

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Felix Yip
Felix Yip

Lot Essay

Xiong Bingming was among the few Chinese artists well recognized by the international art world as a sculptor. He went to France to pursue studies in 1964 together with Wu Guangzhong, an influential Chinese painter, upon his graduation for a philosophy degree. Xiong acquired profound knowledge and achieved mastery of both Chinese and Western philosophy, sculpture and calligraphy. He gave his artworks significant philosophical meaning which related to his own culture, background, way of thinking and characteristic.

Xiong graduated from National Advanced School of Fine Arts in Paris. His artworks could generally be divided into two main types: portraits and animals. Most of his early works featured portraits with heroically tragic themes such as revolution, wars, etc. In 1954, Xiong started to create sculptures of animals such as crows, wolves, owls, camels, doves, cattle, wild gooses and cranes, etc. by soldering iron wires and sheets. His masterpieces were showcased in various influential exhibitions such as French Salon, Salon de Mai and Salon for Young Sculptor. Xiong once said, "Bronze was very expensive after war and it was not easy to make a bronze status. However, scrap iron was extremely easy to obtainKthat brought up a generation of sculptors. Besides the economic factor, sculptors who have survived in war feel special affection for welding fire and scrap iron. This is a turning point of my art journey to create sculptures by soldering iron instead of using gypsum plaster". Falling Dove (Lot 1127), a single-piece sculpture, was created in 1956. Making with tough metal, the masterpiece perfectly displays the dove's streamline shape, giving off an aura of humbleness and peace.

Executed in 1963, 'Crane' (Lot 1126) shows how Xiong moved towards abstraction by breaking down the boundaries of realistic forms. This modeled figure captures not only the feature but also the spirit of the crane with vivid animation. "The wire expresses the stretching and leaping of the crane. This piece of art combines with representationism, abstractionism and imagism", Wu Guangzhong commented. Xiong delineated the crane's calm and gracious manner with just a few iron steel sticks. This sculpture penetrates the concept of Taoistic nature law and Chinese calligraphy. Together with other famous Chinese artists like Lin Fengmian, Zhao Wuji and Zhu Dequn, Xiong dedicated himself to discover the essence of Chinese characters and calligraphy, and to create a new way for modern art with contemporary style and elements of a modern interpretation of traditional Chinese philosophy and ancient wisdom.

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