Distractions: art

FIGHT FOR

WHAT YOU WANT
Beijing-born sculptor Ren Zhe explains the spirit of conquest he
hopes to conv...
The reason I like sculpting is because
sculptures are more direct and genuine,
and this also suits my own character.

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Ren zhe sculpts the the warrior spirit

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Beijing-born sculptor Ren Zhe explains the spirit of conquest he hopes to convey through his awesome bronze and steel warriors.

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Ren zhe sculpts the the warrior spirit

  1. 1. Distractions: art FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU WANT Beijing-born sculptor Ren Zhe explains the spirit of conquest he hopes to convey through his awesome bronze and steel warriors. By WONG MUN WAI. 8 LIFESTYLE lite MAY 2011 08-09 Lite-Distrations-Art KHL.indd 8 4/18/11 10:02 PM
  2. 2. The reason I like sculpting is because sculptures are more direct and genuine, and this also suits my own character. Throughout history, the warrior’s image has rallied many to a common cause. The warrior epitomises the indomitable human spirit – solid, unflinching and defiant, the classic picture of the hero. The warrior is also a particular fascination for Chinese sculptor Ren Zhe, whose first solo exhibition debuts in Singapore from the end of May called Ren Zhe: Garnering The Essence. Awe inspiring Fearsome is a word that comes to mind when one sees the sculptures. The tallest at 2.2 metres high towers over most people. However, rather than representing violence, Ren Zhe has created the bronze artworks to inspire. “I hope their indomitable spirit sets an example for people who have suffered setbacks or experienced difficulties to… stand up for themselves,” writes the sculptor. “I want to constantly go all out, broaden my horizons and continue surpassing my own standards. This is why I am creating these warriors, as I wish to convey this awesome spirit to people.” Many influences, one heart A graduate of the Department of Sculpture – Academy of Arts & Design at Tsinghua University and member of China Sculpture Institute, his ideas and concepts are drawn from contemporary culture like Japanese anime. The sculptor grew up in a generation when anime became popular outside Japan in the 1980s. Naturally, a recurrent theme running through his work is the reassessing of the past through contemporary eyes. He asks us to think back to the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, to the dying days of the Qing dynasty. “The relations between people were much simpler and when the Western and Oriental cultures collided, it sparked off an art inspiration,” says the closely-cropped, clean-shaven 28-year-old. “Art had less restrictions and limitations then and I like how easy these two cultures blended together to inspire creativity.” Ren Zhe doesn’t just draw inspiration from one period in time though. The sculptor views all art form as interlinked: From ancient Greek sculpture, Chinese calligraphy, Shang dynasty bronze ware to Italian cathedrals. His craft seems a fairly structured process: “First it starts with the drawing of a sketch and this is followed by creating the sculpture’s framework. This framework is a creation using both iron and wood so as to support the sculpture mould that is made of clay.” However, it is his view that style, technique or methods are not fixed but merely the artist’s tools. What he holds as constant and wants to “uphold forever” is his attitude of crafting and staying sincere to his art. The exhibition of 25 bronze and stainless steel sculptures is on from 28 May to 5 June at the ARTrium @ MICA, 140 Hill Street, tel: 6837 9844. Admission is free. lite LIFESTYLE 08-09 Lite-Distrations-Art KHL.indd 9 lite MAY 2011 9 4/18/11 10:03 PM

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