Six years ago, American artist Warren King went to China for the very first time, to the village where generations of his family had lived. During this trip he was approached on the streets by people who, amazingly, had memories of his grandparents from when they’d dwelt there until the Chinese Civil War — individuals with whom he shared a cultural, cultural, and ancestral connection but a relationship that had been severed when his grandparents left that area 50 years ago.
His most recent work, Shaoxing Villagers, a series of life-size sculptures made with just glue and cardboard, is an ongoing project to recreate the residents of his grandparents’ home village one individual at one time. The trivial, discarded materials he uses relate to the nature of the connections he is attempting to reconstruct. The types are abstracted, and the backs of the figures are left bare, showing hollowness along with the artist’s meticulous construction.
His work isn’t too much about the individuals that are represented because it’s about his attempts to comprehend them, and also the limitations of these efforts. You can discover more of his beautiful work at wrnking.com or follow him on Instagram.