He Pan Page 2
Leona Craig Art Gallery
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Young Mao Zedong, original cast bronze sculpture (artist's proof) by Pan
He (潘鹤), c. 1990
Having had his sculpture, When I Grow Up, selected by Mao to represent the new PRC, in the early 1950's, he made another, Tough Times (see the story attached to the scupture on another of Pan's pages, here), in the mid-1960's, challenging Mao. Even with bad blood between them, in the 1960's, Pan was asked to make a sculpture of Mao Zedong to be put in Mao's hometown, in Hunan. The project was trouble from the start. When Pan depicted Mao as a younger man with longer hair (his ulterior motive was that he no longer respected Mao, but thought that he was a good man when he was young and just joining the "revolution"), he was told he could not do that: he did it anyway. The stone sculpture was so large that Pan was making it in two pieces: the torso and head, and below the waste. As a result, he was accused of trying to desecrate Mao by cutting him in half. He was jailed, made to kneel in glass and was beaten, daily. So much for good deeds.
Having a bad taste in his mouth about his first Young Mao, he decided to make a revised version in the late 1980's-early 1990's [he can't remember exactly when]. This is one of what Pan tells us around 10 copies of this smaller version artist's proof.
Several years ago, he was asked by the government for a copy of this one. Instead of saying no (he likes to make sculptures) or asking for millions, like many other modern Chinese sculptors, he told the government that he would make one a gift, in return for a letter of apology for his treatment the first time he made Mao's sculpture: he got the letter. It has special significance, entirely separate from the subject of the sculpture. He depicted Mao, in this sculpture and the first sculpture as an idealist, leaving Hunan to join the revolution in Guangzhou, instead of what he later became.
The inscription (see close-up on hyperlink page) on the rock underneath his feet is a poem by Mao that reads: 问苍茫大地，谁主沉浮？ Pinyin: wen cang mang da di, shei zhu chen fu?
It means: Nature is so wonderful. Who can lead the future?
In 1925, Mao left Hunan to come to the center of the revolution, Guangzhou. The line is from a poem that he wrote before leaving for Guangzhou. When he stood in front of Juzi Zhoutou (a little island in Hunan), looking at the river flowing to the north, there were red leafed trees on top of the mountain, they just looked like they'd been dyed. Many boats were out on the river, trying to run; hawks were flying, happily, in the sky; fish were playing in the water . In the deep autumn, he wrote: living things in nature are still having their free and happy life, but look at the motherland (the people), who can be the leader of you ? Who can lead the country?
The Helmsman, original cast bronze sculpture by Pan He, Guangzhou, China
Pan He says he only creates sculpture when he has something to say. While some may look at this sculpture and believe that it means that the country is being steered by a strong hand, the real meaning is a question: in what direction will my country eventually be steered? The Helmsman's strong upper body rises from the rocks, emphasizing his strength and steadiness. Thus the question becomes is he really strong or just immovable?
While some artists create statues of monotonous red faced men and call it social commentary, we like the more subtle social commentary that Pan He makes in his sculptures.
Pan He's son, Pan Fen, also, makes a copy of this, which he says is by both him and his father, but it is simply his reproduction of the father's, and a noticeable difference between the two [in addition to numbering on Pan Fen's version and the absence of a number on the artist's proofs] is that the index finger of the right hand on the steering wheel is longer in the final version. See the hyperlink page to compare the two versions.
Fisher Girl, original cast bronze sculpture (artist's proof) by Pan He
The original marble Fisher Girl, made in 1979, can be seen on a rock, just off the coast in the north of Zhuhai, China, the sister city of Macau, and is the iconic symbol of that southern coastal Chinese city.
She has 4 bracelets on one wrist and three on the other because she gave one to her lover. Her father noticed, became angered and forbid her to see him. Thereafter, legends have grown up around her. One has her lover sneaking over the border from Macau, each night, and walking up the long, seaside Lover's Walk, in Zhuhai, to see her. Another has him coming down from the mountain top to the sea to meet her.
Pan likes to make sculpture that will eventually draw people to areas that have few visitors before. He also makes his tributes, not to the government, but to the people. The fisher girl holds a pearl above her head. The true meaning of the sculpture is that the Chinese people work hard and gather many of the natural resources that China has, while Beijing gets all of the credit and the benefit.
This smaller version artist's proof was made around the same time as the original marble version. This small version was not signed by Pan, as he tells us he did not sign the small one. However, it has his stamp on it, which, he explains, his son must have put on it before taking it to the foundry, as it is a seal that only the family has access to. When we took it to him to authenticate, he said it was like having his long lost daughter return. We also offer a much larger version (3 meters high) which is the second casting of one made as a gift to Sichuan after the earthquake in 2008.
A recent marble version, made by an assistant at Pan's direction, for a Zhuhai official to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Fisher Girl, recently sold at auction for a retail equivalent price of around $200,000.
We have also recently had someone try to sell us a fake version of the Fisher Girl, which we show a picture of, for comparison to the real one, on the hyperlinked page. Notice the larger base on the fake. The person even had a picture taken with his fake sculpture with Pan He, but Pan told us he told the guy it was a fake; then, he tries to use that photo as proof that it is real. Beware!
Liberation, original cast bronze sculpture by Pan He (潘鹤), Canton, China
Why yes, of course, this is about the liberation of the Chinese people from the chains of tyranny of the former democratic China by the Communists. The strongman has broken his chains of bondage, and the child on his shoulder represents the hope of the future generation.
The large, final version was made as part of a larger memorial for the city of Beihai, in Guangxi Province, next door to Guangdong [they used to be one province until an emperor cut it into two because the Guang's have always been a seat of rebels in the empire].
Again, the style is very classical, even down to the loincloth worn by the man, and the physique is certainly more Western than Chinese. What is even more funny is that Pan inscribed C.I.A. on the man's arm bracelet, as a little inside joke with himself, as, for him, the U.S. represents the epitome of capitalism, which is what the Communists were supposed to have freed the people from, although, today, that same communist party has now embraced capitalism, itself.
Happy Together, original artist's proof cast bronze sculpture by Pan He
There is transparent social commentary in this sculpture, as China is composed of the majority Han Chinese along with over 50 minority peoples. Although it goes about it in a peculiar way, injecting Han majority people as the elite of traditional minority stronghold, like Xinjiang and "Inner" Mongolia, China's spoken goal is always to have a harmonious society of one big happy family.
|We have other sculptures by Pan He available in the gallery, which have not been included in the on-line gallery. Please call or email for further details, and will will email further information to you, directly.|
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