The musée Rodin has invited Wang Keping to invest the sculpture Garden to set up his studio throughout the whole month of May.
Close to nature, just like Rodin was, the artist will be working live in front of the audience's eye, on four monumental sculptures in the making, in the vast space of the underforest. Wang Keping works straight from whole tree trunks, from which he knows how to conjure up sensual forms, full of emotion and poetry. This invitation, a first for the musée Rodin, is a unique chance for the public to discover the artist in action and the artwork in the making.
Born in 1949 near Beijing into a family of scholars, Wang Keping experienced the upheavals of the Cultural Revolution. A worker, soldier, actor and writer, he became a sculptor, as he likes to say, after seeing works by Rodin. Self-taught, and without academic training, he tells us he invented his very own technique. In 1979, he participated in the creation of the "Stars" group of dissident artists in China and faced political censorship and deprivation of freedom before going into exile in France in 1984.
Wood, the artist's favourite material, is at the heart of his work. Wang Keping searchesthe countryside and sawmills for trunks of different essences. Once debarked, the block suggests the shapes that the sculpture will take. With his chainsaw, and then with increasingly fine tools, the artist makes the wood speak. He sands and re-sands it, until the right shape emerges and reveals the spirit that the material imposes: rounded, soft, sensual female forms, smooth as skin.
About Rodin's women, Wang Keping says: "The naked bodies of women sculpted by Rodin radiate a brilliant light of love... and at the same time, a vibrant call to freedom. [...] The celebration of women in Rodin's work has left a deep imprint on my creative journey, guiding my head and hands from conception to completion, from 1978 to the present day, from the images printed in Beijing to the musée Rodin in Paris."
Four sculptures in the process of completion will be installed in the open-air studio in the garden. A completed sculpture L'Amour des Forêts (holm oak), H 172 x 150 x 122 cm, will also be on display in the lobby of the Hôtel Biron throughout May.The artist will be present in his open-air studio Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.