Life-Size Cardboard Sculptures of Chinese Villagers Tap Into Artist Warren King’s Ancestral Heritage
Warren King began sculpting with cardboard as an attempt to add fantasy to the lives of his children, creatively crafting masks and helmets out of the recyclable material. This slowly evolved into a more time-consuming arts practice as King began focusing less time on costumes, and more time making large sculptures of his own. After a visit to his grandparents’ village in Shaoxing, China, the New York City-based artist felt compelled to more deeply connect with his cultural past. This sparked Grandfather’s Friend, and Arrival Times, a series of life-size cardboard recreations of his ancestors.
“During my first visit to China about 7 years ago, I visited the village and spoke with residents who actually remembered my grandparents from over 50 years ago,” said King. “It was a pivotal experience for me, one that inspired me to become an artist. Through my work, I am attempting to understand the fragile connections to people and culture, and examine whether those connections, once broken, can be restored.”