How Constantin Brancusi’s Paris studio changed the life of a Hong Kong designer toymaker

How Constantin Brancusi’s Paris studio changed the life of a Hong Kong designer toymaker

The Studio Brancusi is part of the Center Pompidou in Paris and is the well-preserved studio in Paris of Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957).

The Romanian artist bequeathed it to France after his death, and the original building was rebuilt by architect Renzo Piano in the early 1990s after it was damaged by floods.

Hong Kong artist Lau Kin-man, known for his designer toys as well as paintings and sculptures, tells Richard Lord how it changed his life.

The first time I went to Paris was in 1996 or 1997, when I received the “Best Prize” from the Philippe Charriol Foundation (established by the luxury watchmaker and jeweler of the same name to promote Asian art). Promising Artist Award”.

Michael Lau visits Atelier Brancusi every time he returns to France. Photo: Chen Afa

I used the funds to go to Paris and see all the great museums and original art that I had previously only been able to see through reading.

At that time, I was in the stage of finishing my studies (First College of Art and Design, Causeway Bay) and trying to enter the art world.

I started painting and trying to have exhibitions: I’ve had two exhibitions, one in 1993 and one at the Hong Kong Arts Center in 1996.

I keep entering different competitions to try and showcase what I want to do in art. This was a period of trial and error.

This was my first trip to Europe, France, Paris and Center Pompidou. I went to the Brancusi studio, where I discovered the form of Brancusi’s work. I love them and am greatly inspired by them.

Brancusi Studio at Center Pompidou in Paris. Photo: Center Pompidou

The studio is not like an ordinary exhibition; This is his studio. It has a more intimate feel – you get to know the artist and his work on a much deeper level than a normal exhibition.

The way everything is displayed in the space gave me a three-dimensional view of his work – a detailed understanding of the artist. It gives the viewer a strong understanding of the relationship between light, shadow and geometric shapes.

For someone like me who works in sculpture, it had a big impact.

After returning to Hong Kong, I began to create my “Gardener” series, which is a collection of 99 characters, some fictional and some real people based on the world of street culture.

I was inspired by Brancusi when designing them. But his inspiration isn’t just reflected in the Gardener series; He has been a major influence throughout my career in the interpretation of graphics I use, from two-dimensional paintings to three-dimensional sculptures.

Every time I come back to France, I go to the studio – I’ve been there more than ten times. One of the things that really struck me when I saw some of the work again during the different periods that I visited was that it was almost like looking at my own work and remembering, “So this form really inspired my inspiration.

I didn’t plagiarize on purpose; His work left such an impression on my mind.

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