Ben Brown Fine Arts is pleased to present the first UK solo exhibition of Wang Keping, one of China’s
foremost contemporary sculptors. Wang Keping burst onto the Chinese art scene in the late 1970s as a
founding member of the Beijing avant-garde group The Stars (Xing Xing). Featuring over 20 works, the
exhibition spans almost 25 years of exceptional artistic production and presents brand new pieces
alongside significant creations from the artist’s earlier career.
Wang Keping works almost exclusively in a single medium: wood. The figures and abstract forms in his
sculptures seem to emerge organically out of the wood’s grain, knots and flaws. He strives towards
simplicity, creating monumental symbols of human nature and sensuality. This exhibition places
particular emphasis on his interest in human forms, as demonstrated by the male and female
companion pieces Le Matin and La Nuit (1989) as well as newer pieces Yin et Yang (2004) and
Unusual among contemporary artists, Wang Keping completes each sculpture without delegating to
studio assistants, a practice attributed to his belief in the intimate nature of artistic production. To
prepare the wood for his sculptures, Wang Keping will let logs sit for months, sometimes years, to allow
the innate features of the material to grow and deepen until they take on their own distinctive,
biologically-determined shapes. Beginning the carving process while the wood is still fresh and moist,
Wang Keping encourages cracks to form which eventually dry to form details such as facial features,
clenched fists and folds of skin.
Ben Brown Fine Arts will publish a catalogue with a preface by Ai WeiWei to accompany the exhibition.
‘I have known Wang Keping for almost 40 years,’ WeiWei writes. ‘A member of the avant-garde nonconformist
artists’ collective, The Stars Group, he has always been seen as the pioneer of contemporary
Chinese culture from the late ’70s onwards. His early works have already shown that he is a brilliant
artist with a vigorous creative force. At the same time, he actively fights for the right and freedom for
artistic expression – the courage and passion he has shown in this regard has been highly influential to
me, as well as other artists to come.’
Wang Keping was born in Beijing in 1949 and has lived in Paris since 1984. He is a founding member of
The Stars (Zing Zing), often called the first avant-garde contemporary art movement in China. His 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 Ziagning Art Museum in China. His sculptures have
been acquired by several important art institutions around the world including the Fonds Muncipal d’Art
Contemporain, Paris; M+ museum, Hong Kong, Musée Cernuischi, Paris; and the Ashmolean Museum,
The Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Beijing will present an exhibition of the artist’s works from 27
September 2013 – 5 January 2014.