Luo Dan was born in Hu Nan province of China. In 2013, he graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts with a Master Degree in Sculpting. His work has been extensively exhibited throughout Asia.
Being an artist who was born in the Post 80’s generation, do you think your art represents your generation’s new art movement?
I don’t see myself falling under the so-called “trendy” Chinese art movement, in my mind, my art itself is simple, which allows my mind to flow naturally. I also hope that the audience sees and treats my art with an unbiased heart or an international perspective, and the symbolic representations of China or women (my artwork subject portraits woman) can be wiped out.
I believe however that one’s background and history would reflect on the artwork subconsciously. Now and again, I see myself lingering on the teachings of Confucius (孔夫子). My favourite quote is Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues. I am digesting its wisdom, and subconsciously transferring it to my sculpture making.
Balance Series 15 by Luo Dan 罗旦, 2018 – view more information
People often associate your work with Colombian artist Fernando Botero, are you under his influence?
This may make me sound rather ignorant, but I honestly only learned about him after showing my works publicly, as many people have asked me the same question. I would say there is nothing in common between us, people might get confused with the plump figures we both depict.
I got my inspiration from a show I watched a few years ago, the ballet was performed by a group of controversial dancers. Unlike the usual skinny type, they were rather heavy and plump. The performance was perfectly executed, it was surprisingly elegant, yet poetic, somehow they made the “swans” appear to be lighter and flowier. I fell in love with them instantly, I wanted to freeze that lightness and transform it into permanence. Hence, I created the Balance Series.
In my work, the idea of being ‘large’ is being positively celebrated, well fertilized. There is a beauty to the gentle movement and shape of these overweight statues that are playful in their very nature. the heavy nature of the women symbolizes wealth and prosperity for centuries in China, it is a sign of being “well fed” after all.
Balance Series 16 by Luo Dan 罗旦, 2018 – view more information
Could you share what are you working on at the moment, what do you plan to do next?
I am still working on the Balance Series at the moment and I am planning to continue exploring the series for the next one or two years. I feel there is a lot to do and I am barely touching the surface of it.
Besides using bronze as the medium, I am also exploring stone carving. I always thought you have to be a little mad to become a stone carver. I mean this is not Renaissance period any more and stone is no longer the primary building material. Not many people would choose such material that is costly, heavy and time-consuming.
Stone is a magnificent material in my eye though. It fits my philosophy that is earthy and solid. I always believe if you can imagine doing something and you have the skills to do it, you can pretty much execute anything you want and that transitioned from your imagination through your eyes and hands to the block of stone; the sheer ability to shape something from the earth to create something beautiful that is the most incredible feeling.
Balance Series 12 by Luo Dan 罗旦, 2017 – view more information