Artist Warren King’s cardboard sculptures pay homage to his Chinese heritage


#Cardboard #Sculpture #Warren King

Detail of “Xuanzang”. Photo by Jon Prospero. All images © Warren King, shared with permission

Artist Warren King (formerly) finds much inspiration wandering through Chinatown in New York City, where he encounters “buskers, chess players in Columbus Park, vegetable vendors, fake handbag vendors on Canal Street, and lion dancers during Chinese New Year celebrations,” he says to Colossal. “During my weekly shopping sprees, I was fascinated by the vibrant, diverse community there, so different from the relatively homogenous suburbs I grew up in.”

These passers-by become the initial inspiration for the artist’s figurative cardboard sculptures, which take into account his Chinese heritage, his parents’ immigration and the importance of a diasporic identity. Ribbed with subtle waves and coated in dark, neutral tones, the works vary in size, although many are life-size and large enough to occupy public benches and galleries. Each piece pays homage both to those he observes and to the wealth of the Chinese community.

Detail from The Wu Dan Answers the Call. Photo by Satoshi Kobayashi

Besides its ongoing Chinatown series, King’s recent work also includes some pieces of personal relevance, including “Xuanzang.” The Stoic character is based on the 7th-century monk of the same name, who traveled 10,000 miles to India to recover Buddhist texts and the classic novel Journey to the West. “I used to be an avid backpacker and have done some life-defining hikes myself,” says the artist. “And I’m also a book nerd, so obviously Xuanzang is kind of an idol for me.”

The intricately armored piece, titled “The Wu Dan Answers the Call,” similarly contextualizes King’s background in a broader story. “I wanted to tell the story of my fiery grandmother, who as a young woman tried to fight the bloody battle against the Japanese. But the piece is a hybrid of a character from Chinese opera and Donatello’s famous David sculpture, reflecting the two lenses through which I view the story,” he says.

King is currently working on an installation centered on the idea of ​​preserving narrative and family heritage. This work is scheduled for February 2023 at the Pearl River Mart in Soho and you can follow the progress on Instagram.

“Xuanzang.” Photo by Jón Prospero

Detail of “Xuanzang”. Photo by Jon Prospero

“Lion Dancer” (2020). Photo by Jon Prospero

“The Wu Dan answers the call.” Photo by Satoshi Kobayashi

“Chess Players” (2020). Photo by Jon Prospero

#Cardboard #Sculpture #Warren King

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