Wang Keping

  • 08.05.2013 - 07.07.2013|

Zürcher Studio is pleased to present the second New York solo exhibition of Wang Keping’s newest body of work, Women. An accompanying catalog, featuring an essay by Jonathan Goodman, is published by the gallery.

Wang Keping was born in the province of Hebei, near Beijing, in 1949. He is known as one of the founders of the Chinese avant-garde group, Xing Xing (The Stars), formed in 1979. He has been living near Paris since 1984 and he has been represented by Zürcher Paris / New York since 1986.

Wang Keping’s first personal exhibition included key works from various moments in his early forty years of work will take place at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, China (09.12 to 11.03 2013).

When Wang Keping made his first sculptures in 1978. Like all Chinese of his generation and social milieu – his father became famous in 1949 for having written the first novel on the Sino-Japanese War, his mother was a theatre and film actress – he fell victim to the turmoil of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. In 1966, while still at secondary school, he was conscripted into the Red Guards and later sent to northeastern China for a draconian process of “re-education”.
Wang discovered a mode of expression that suited him perfectly. Wood was a rare material in China. His first sculpture, then, was carved out of a cross-piece from a chair. The works that follows were manifestoes against the absurdity, intolerance and violence of the regime. This sense of urgency would bring a brief liberalization. In the spring of 1979 the authorities consented to the creation of a “wall of democracy” in Beijing for the expression of dissenting opinions. Wang, who had just finished his first sculptures, became one of the leading lights of a group of some twenty artists know as the Stars (Xing Xing in Chinese). American journalist Fox Butterfield covered the event on the front page of the New York Times of 19 October 1979, together with a photo of Wang holding Silence, a head with its mouth and one eye sealed off. Initially the authorities tried to hush things up, but the Star group enjoyed some support and in August 1980 its members were allowed to show in two large halls in the same museum. In just over two weeks more than 100,000 people visited the exhibition.

So long starved of information about modern Western art, he wasted no time in visiting museums, in the United States and then in France where he decided to stay finally. The resultant sculptures deeply embedded in his life history, in the Chinese artistic heritage of old – that of the Han period in particular – and in rural popular art. His objective is an ongoing formal simplification and, as in those early works in China, his quest systematically leads his to trees, with all their knots and branches. Clinging above all to the independence that underlies his profound originality, Wang has produced an oeuvre that seems a-temporal, as if dating back to art’s very genesis. Yet he frankly acknowledges his deeply felt affinities with sculptors who are very much a part of Modernism, Brancusi the first among them.

Authorized exhibition by the Stars group at the National Art Museum in Peking, 1980. Unauthorised exhibition by the Stars group of artists on the fence of the National Art Museum in Peking, 1979.

Women, Zürcher Studio, New York, 2013. Renaissance, Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 2012. Zürcher Studio, New York, 2011. La Chair des forêts, Musée Zadkine, Paris, 2010. He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen, 2008.10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong, 2007. Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 2006. Galerie Grand Siècle, Taipei, 2005. Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 2003. 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong, 2002. Déesses, Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 2001. Galerie Jacques Barrère, Paris & Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 1999. Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 1998. Alisan Fine Art, Hong Kong, 1997. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, 1997. Ethan Cohen Gallery, New York, 1996. Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 1995. At Work Gallery, Chicago, 1994. Museum für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt, 1994. Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 1994. Aidekman Arts Center, Boston, 1993. Chinese Modern Art Center, Osaka, 1993. Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 1991. Monte Gallery, Tokyo, 1990. Museum of Modern Art, Taizhong, 1989. Salon de Mars, Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 1989. Galerie Thomas, Münich, 1988. Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 1988. Art Waves Gallery, New York, 1987. Galerie Zürcher, Paris, 1986.

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS : Light Before Dawn, Asia Society Hong Hong touring to Houston. Blooming in the Shadows, Unofficial Chinese Art (1974-1985) China Institute Gallery, New York, 2011. Artistes Chinois à Paris, Musée Cernuschi, Paris, 2011. Origin Point, The Stars 30 Years, Today Art Museum, Beijing, 2008. China Gold, l’Art contemporain chinois, Musée Maillol, Paris, 2008. Go China – Writing on the Wall, Chinese New Realism and Avant-Garde in the eighties and nineties, Groninger Museum, Groningen, 2008. China Contemporary Art : the long march of the Avant-Garde, Contemporary Art Museum, Genova, 2007. China Onward, The Estella Collection, Chinese Contemporary Art 1966-2006, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhague, 2007. Mahjong - Chinesische Gegenwartskunst aus der Sammlung Sigg, Kunstmuseum, Bern, 2005. The 2nd Annual China International Gallery Exhibition 2005, Beijing, China ; Marlborough Gallery, New York, 2005. Body and Nature, Two Chinese artists, Marlborough Chelsea, New York, 2004. Chine, le corps partout ?, Museum of Contemporary Art, Marseille, 2004. French May, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong, 2002. China without borders, Goedhuis Contemporary, Sotheby’s, New York, 2001. Salon de Mars, Galerie Leda Fletcher, Geneva, 2001. Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong, 2001. Le corps morcelé, Fondation d’art contemporain Daniel et Florence Guerlain, Les Mesnuls, 2000. At the New Century, 1979-1999, China’s Contemporary Art Works, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chengdu, 2000. Demand for Artistic Freedom, The Stars, 20 Years, Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo, 2000. Les Champs de la Sculpture, Champs Elysées, Paris, 1999. WeiWei Gallery, Pékin, 1999. The Pu-Yeo International Modern Sculpture Symposium, Corée, 1999. Vision 2000, Chinesische Gemälde und Skulpturen der Gegenwart, Linden-Museum, Stuttgart, Stuttgart, 1998. National Museum of Fine Arts, Beijing, 1997. Face à l’Histoire, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1996. Tokyo Gallery, Tokyo, 1993. Sculptures - Frédéric Bleuet, Peter Briggs, Wang Keping, Hôtel de Ville, Paris, 1992. Tian an Men, 4 June - 4 December : Don’t Forget Me, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris,1989. The Stars : 10 years, Hanart Gallery, Hong Kong, 1989. International Sculpture Exhibition, Olympic Games, Seoul, 1988. Maison de la Chine, Paris, 1984. Painting the Chinese Dream, Chinese Art 30 Years after the Revolution, Brooklyn Museum, New York, 1983.

BIBLIOGRAPHY (Reference Books which include Wang Keping) : Blooming in the Shadows, Unofficial Chinese Art (1974-1985)- essays
by Kuiyi Shen and Julia F. Andrews, China Institute Gallery, New York, 2011.
. Wang Keping, La Chair des forêts, exhibition at the Zadkine Museum, Paris - essay by Sylvain Lecombre, Paris Musées, 2010. Wang Keping, MONOGRAPH - essays by Bertrand Lorquin, Michael Sullivan, Wang Keping, Fox Butterfield, Katie de Tilly, Vibrant Life, 2008. Made in China, works from the Estella Collection- edited by Michael Juul Holm and Anders Kold, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2007. Breakout, Chinese art outside China- Melissa Chiu, Edizioni Charta, Milano, 2006. Modern Chinese Artists, a biographical dictionnary- Michael Sullivan, University of California Press, 2006. Mahjong - Chinesische Gegenwartskunst aus der Sammlung Sigg Kunstmuseum Bern, Hamburger Kunsthalle, 2005. Modern Chinese Art- Michael sullivan, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 2001. Chinese Art and Culture - Robert L. Thorp, Richard Ellis Vinograd Prentice Hall, Harry N. Abrams, New York, 2001. The Arts of China (Fourth Edition) - Michael Sullivan University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1999. Inside Out, New Chinese Art, University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1999. Wang Keping, Ex Voto, Galerie IUFM Confluence(s), Lyon, 1999. Asian Avant-Garde Christie’s London, 1998. Cinquante sculpteurs choisissent le bois - Dominique Dalemont Somogy, Paris, 1998. Works by Wang Keping, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Center for the Arts, 1997. Art and Artists of Twentieth Century China - Michael Sullivan, University of California Press, Berkeley, LA, London, 1996. Face à l’Histoire, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1996. Chine, on ne bâillonne pas la lumière - Noël Mamère, Marie Holzman Ramsay, Paris, 1996. China Avant-Garde, Oxford University Press, London, 1993. Keping Wang, Ville de Blanc Mesnil, 1990. The Stars, 10 Years , Hanart, Hong Kong, 1989. The New Chinese Painting, 1949-1986 - Joan Lebold Cohen Abrams, New York, 1987. China After Mao - Liu Heung Shing Asia 2000, Hong Kong, 1987. The Heart of the Dragon - Alistair Clayre, Collins Harville, London, 1984. La Chine - Fox Butterfield Presses de la Cité, Paris, 1983. China After Mao : “Seek Truth from Facts” - Liu Heung Shing Penguin Books, London, New York, 1983. China, Alive in the Bitter Sea - Fox Butterfield Bantam Books, New York, Londong, 1982. From the Center of the Earth - Richard Bernstein Little, Brown & Cie, Boston, Toronto, 1982. Poèmes & Art en Chine : “non-officiels” - Julien Blaine Doc(k)s, Paris, 1981-1982.

Musée Cernuschi, Paris.
M+ Museum, Hong Kong (Gift of Uli Sigg).
Aidekman Arts Center, Boston.
Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford.
Fonds municipal d’art contemporain, Paris.
Fondation Claudine et Jean-Marc Salomon, Annecy.
He Xiangning Art Museum, Shenzhen.
International Sculpture Park, Pu-Yeo.
Museum of Contemporary Asian Art, Fukuoka.
Museum of Modern Art, Taizhon.
The China Club Collection, Hong Kong.
Fondation Guerlain, Paris.
Olympic Games Park, Seoul