In the city of Nantes, France, people can see a huge serpent rising from the sea near the Loire estuary. Officially named Serpent d’océan, this sculpture is a massive work, measuring 130 meters in length. It was completed in 2012 by Huang Yong Ping, a Chinese-born French artist. The sculpture is currently on display in the art gallery of Estuaire.
Made of aluminum, this sculpture reveals itself to wanderers through the covering and uncovering of sea waves. The Saint-Nazaire Bridge is located near the serpent, and they both exhibit characteristic similarities between the serpent’s spine and the shape of the bridge.
During the Chinese struggle for a new cultural identity in the 1980s, also known as the Chinese Avant-Garde exhibition, Huang Yong Ping was among the important figures of that time. Many of his artistic works had been officially banned by the Chinese government before he finally made it to France. Since then, he has become a French citizen and reflects on his art and works in a contemporary way. He is also the first to introduce Chinese mythology to Europe through his extraordinary perspective.
Serpent d’océan mirrors the cycle of nature and life, with its skeleton changing its appearance throughout the year. When it is covered by algae, it almost reflects how human beings age as time passes by.
Two years ago, Yong Ping built upon his previous work and decided to create a larger sculpture, measuring 240 meters, to be displayed at Empires in Paris. The work is now surrounded by approximately 305 shipping containers, symbolizing international trade.