Wang Du


Sculptor, *1956 Wuhan, Hubei, lives in Paris, France since 1990

Wang Du, 2008, photo Aniu et Anaïs Martane

Wang Du grew up in Wuhan, Hubei where he from a early age produced propaganda posters for the government whilst being employed as a worker in the steel industry. Bored with this work he succeeded to be admitted to the Fine Arts Academy in Guangzhou in 1981 with the idea of developing his talents as an artist. Finding the teaching methods at Guangzhou too stifling, he abandoned his studies in 1985 and founded a group of artists and intellectuals, known as the “Southerners”, taking part in intellectual debates, performances, and experimental art forms. In 1987 he was warned to stop the group's public meetings, which had become preoccupied with politically sensitive subjects such as corruption. In 1989 he was imprisoned for several months for disturbing the peace. After his release in 1990 he fled to France and has lived in Paris ever since.

Early Sculptures

At the beginning of his stay in Europe Wang was bewildered by the West’s artificial and rapid evolution and the effects that this produced on society and the visual arts. He was strongly influenced by curator and art dealer Jeffrey Deicht's 1992 exhibition “Post-Human”.

Réalité jetable-Disposable Reality, 2000

Family, 1997, polyester

Défilé-Deployment, 2000

This is seen in Wang Du’s early work when he presented his first sculptures in 2000: futuristic figures given the possibility to control and redesign their bodies through biotechnology… These huge figures, often with disproportionate limbs would be the first in a long series; some were genderless whilst others were overtly feminine or masculine with over-exaggerated sexual attributes.


In 2002 the artist’s work started to center around a criticism of the media and the public’s reception of the media. His interpretation was expressed through sculptures and large-scale installations; he challenged the relation between the information and image consumer that we have all become and what motivates this consumer.

Tapis Volant - Flying Carpet, 2003,
“Columbia is lost”, wool, 9.5x11 m

Tunnel d'Espace-Temps, Tunnel of Space-Time, 2004, 30 m long, steel and TV sets

Enter, 2004, resin

With “Parade,” he brought together gigantic pieces that he exhibited in different art centres and in this way created a kind of media parade, inspired from the ultra rapid model of information dissemination. “Tapis Volant” was one of the sections of this parade; a huge wool rug reproducing the cover of Time featuring the explosion of the Colombia spacecraft. The spectator moved across it and experienced the rug embedded with the catastrophe …. With “Tunnel d'Espace-Temps”, you enter a tunnel that turns out to be a gigantic intestine, the interior walls plastered with TV screens. After a windy passage through the world of international information, you exit via a slide, thrown out in front of a huge ball of paper symbolising the waste produced from handling information.
Text modified from Alain Truong

Hanging Feet, 2006, resin

Les Modes, 2007, bronze

Aircraft Carrier in the dry-dock, 2012

Wang Du's bafflement by how he perceives “Western Culture” is not surprising, but the form he is able to give this puzzlement is. He has invented a multitude of symbols, wich have lost their simplicity and become more abstract during the past years and with it gained in artistic significance. The installations “Tunnel of Space-Time” and “Les Modes” are a far cry from his resin casts of popular idols in 2000. The Aircraft Carrier is a relapse, but it was made for the 2013 exhibition at the Musee d'Art Contemporain de la Chine in Bejing to commemorate the acquisition of a rusty old French(?) aircraft carrier by China...!