Birds - Harmony of the Forest Wang Keping
26 Apr - 04 Jun, 2017 | 10 Chancery Lane Gallery

 (26 April, 2017) HONG KONG-
10 Chancery Lane Gallery and as part of Le French May associated projects announces
the latest premier of acclaimed French-Chinese Artist Wang Keping, Birds, Harmony of
the Forest. This series focuses on Wang Keping’s Bird series from 1982 to 2016. He
explains that he sees birds within the trees through their branches and shapes. The
creatural forms are an abstraction of actual birds and allow him to expose the details of
the wood and its textures that they can lend to the sculpture. This exhibition invites
viewers into the world of Wang Keping’s Birds, Harmony of the Forest and to
understand their elegance, eroticism and humor.
“Birds, the harmony of the forest,” has been accomplished through many years of
creating and keeping aside his favorite bird sculptures to be shown for the first time
together in Hong Kong during the Silver Jubilee of the French May. This group of works
remains very special to the artist, allowing him to work with such simple shapes,

almost a swirl of movement creating an undefined formation within space. Endearing somehow
with tenderness they urge to be caressed. Wang says, “My birds are not really birds,” a
notion that is not hard to grasp as they are somewhere in between reality and
otherness. Wang’s work has evolved over the last 40 years to incorporate a lifetime of
his collaboration with wood, nature and his simplified creatural sculptures. His bird
sculptures are yet another way to express his meaning. His truth is somewhere in the
core of our humanity and it is there inside the wood waiting for him to bring it out. The
strength is the way he pulls all of these aspects together and Wang Keping does it with
such poignancy and honesty that we are drawn to his works because they exude the
joy of what art can give to all of us, truth and beauty.

Wang Keping’s birds are just one of his main themes, along with women, men, mother
holding child, couples and abstract works he terms “ex-voto.” Ever present around him
in his atelier he observes the birds as the harmony of the forest but he observes them in
relation to the trees and their branches that also resemble the figure of a bird. Like all of
his works the object he sculpts is less important than the form that emerges from it.
The subject is an excuse to get to the essence of what truth and beauty he is looking
for inside the block of wood. The final image is an abstraction of the idea. And through
the process, all the natural elements of the wood become important. The natural knot
might be in the middle, and the artist will cut a curve into the work around it
incorporating the swirl of a beak. The grain might allow the flowing of the neck or even
create a pattern that resembles feathers. The cracks might create an even blanket on
the work that etch a circular pattern. The wood might be a flowing river of natural
bumps and contours; he appreciates their ability to add certain feelings and textures to
the piece and he consciously incorporates them into the sculpture itself. All of these
refined aspects of the wood are thought about and employed. He knows all the
intricacies of the different trees he works with and the characteristics they will give. Ash
wood has a beautiful and prominent grain; maple tends to show little grain yet can be
dense like stone but shows tones of honey coloring. Yew is a hard and knotty bush that
contains numerous bumps and protrusions that he allows his hand to go around rather
than fight through its toughness. “Some parts are soft,” he explains, “others hard,

I let the wood guide me.” The feeling is always there, he knows where to go. He explains,
"Each piece of wood will give something different." He might have ten pieces of cedar
wood or yew wood but they will not give the same outcome. “Each tree is unique,
having grown under different conditions thus the wood from each tree even if they are
the same will be different,” he explains. It is this understanding that allows such a
personal conception and perception of each piece he sculpts. Around his studio, he
shows me a bird sculpture in process. The work is covered with a plastic bag. “I want
to control the speed in which the work dries so the cracks will be more even.” Large
blocks of wood will take several years to dry, smaller chunks maybe two years, thus
from the beginning, it is a minimum of two to three years before it is finished. He is
patient and a perfectionist.


About the Artist
Wang Keping was born in China in 1949, the year of the founding of the People’s
Republic of China. Self taught, he started making wooden sculptures in 1978 and
became one of the founders of China’s first contemporary art movements, The Stars
(Xing Xing星星) Group. His works were a voice of revolt within a China that was on the
verge of transformation in the years following the end of the Cultural Revolution and the
death of Chairman Mao Zedong. The first Stars Exhibition was an unauthorized
exhibition of artists who hung their works on the gates of the National Art Museum of
China. After two days the police confiscated the works and the Stars artists organized a
march to demand artistic freedom. A year later, the same group of artists was invited to
show inside the National Art Museum of China. Wang Keping’s works were some of the
most boldly political among the group and were written about in the New York Times
and Wall Street Journal in 1979 and 1980. His sculpture “Silence” showed a deafened
and blinded man, an analogy of the times. His work “Idol” was perhaps the first artwork
ever to make a parody of Chairman Mao by turning him into a Buddha figure. Artist
Wang Keping along with Huang Rui and Ma Desheng were the key leaders of the Stars
Group movement which also included Ai Wei Wei. Wang Keping left for France in 1984
and continued his work turning away from political focus and concentrating more on
simplified sculptures of both figurative and abstract themes. Inspired by the simplicity of
the modernist Constantin Brancusi, the elegance of Chinese Han sculpture and the
bruteness of African sculpture, Wang Keping for the last 40 years has honed a unique
sculptural voice truly his own. At the heart of his work is the wood. He describes his
sculptural process of a collaboration of what the wood has to give him and what he has
to give to the wood.

 Wang Keping is recognized internationally and has been collected and exhibited at the
Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the M+ Uli Sigg
Collection, Hong Kong; the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, among others.
In 2015, Wang Keping was awarded with the Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des
Lettres (France).


About 10 Chancery Lane Gallery
Since 2001, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery has been a driving force in contemporary art in
Hong Kong and is one of Asia’s leading contemporary art galleries. Representing the
Asia-Pacific, the gallery is particularly interested in emerging art movements and
historically important artists from the region.
Representing important artists such as Huang Rui, Wang Keping and Shi Guorui
(China), Atul Dodiya (India), Bui Cong Khanh, The Propeller Group and Dinh Q. Lê
(Vietnam), and Manit Sriwanichpoom (Thailand), 10 Chancery Lane Gallery is committed
to playing a role in documenting the development of Asian art. The gallery has worked
with curators Feng Boyi, Beyond the Red Curtain - China, Erin Gleeson, Forever Until
Now - Contemporary Art Cambodia, iola Lenzi, Subjective Truth - Thai Contemporary
Art, Zoe Butt and Dinh Q. Lê, Time Ligaments - Vietnam. Katie de Tilly is co-President
and one of the founders of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association.
For press enquiries and to arrange interviews, please contact Bo Kim on or +852 2810 0065.





向線條簡約的⼈形或抽象雕塑。由初時受到如現代⼤師Constantin Brancusi的簡約⾵格,以及漢代



畫廊代表的重要藝術家包括:中國藝術家⿈銳、⺩克平及史國瑞、印度藝術家Atul Dodiya、越南藝
術家Bui Cong Khanh、The Propeller Group及Dinh Q. Lê,以及泰國藝術家 Manit Sriwanichpoom
博⼀策展中國當代藝術展《Beyond the Red Curtain》、由Erin Gleeson策展的柬埔寨當代藝術展
《Forever Until Now》,由Lola Lenzi策展的泰國當代藝術展《Subjective Truth》及由Zoe Butt 和
Dinh Q. Lê共同策劃的越南當代藝術展《Time Ligaments》等。畫廊總監Katie de Tilly⼥⼠是⾹港