Self-Portrait: a reflective vision adorns DKU

“SELF-PORTRAIT: Fantasies of the World,” a nearly three-meter-tall bronze sculpture by French artist Guillaume Talbi, now stands prominently in the courtyard of the Administration Building at Duke Kunshan University.

Crafted while Talbi was in Beijing, this sculpture is more than a showcase of his talent; it’s a captivating creation where shapes and forms seem to spring to life, inviting the audience to engage with the art in the surrounding space.

“Sculpture and drawing have always been a space of dialogue for me,” Talbi explained. “To represent is to invent forms and give them a body in space to engage in a conversation with the viewer. The more freedom I have to play with materials and styles, the more alive and present the artwork will be, like an open home inviting the viewer in.”

The art piece has been on display starting April 30, 2024, and Dr. John Quelch, Duke Kunshan’s Executive Vice Chancellor, was instrumental in securing the loan of this innovative piece from Talbi’s collection.

“The exhibition of Mr. Talbi’s masterpiece bridges art, culture, and education, fostering meaningful exchanges within our academic community. It paves the way for integrating key cultural dialogues into our university,” Quelch said.

Born in Châteauroux, France, and currently based in Paris, Talbi has received many awards including the Boucheron Prize in Paris, the Saint-Ange residency, Prix de la Fondation Dufraine by the Institut de France, Académie des Beaux-Arts, and finalist for the Individual Creation Grant by DRAC Île-de-France.

Talbi, whose educational journey included prestigious art schools such as École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, has showcased works globally from Belgium to Japan. Esteemed collectors, including famous gardener Camille Muller, testify to Talbi’s growing prominence in art circles.

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