Bruce Krebs presents and comments on the creation of a sculpture entitled:

The unknown Tiananmen
a work of Bruce Krebs.




Remember of this incredible moment when a single man stopped a column of tanks. The avenue was completely cleared and the man was alone. It was June 5th, 1989 in the Chinese capital. He carried two or three plastic bags, Doubtless he had just purchased for the lunch... He did not hold a sign of protest nor distinguishing feature on him.

For any weapon, he held his plastic bags in hands. A madness!

Click the picture to see the sequence (This fixed asset of tanks lasted more than 6 minutes. This editing of 2 minutes is an assembly of 5 moments-keys)


We have never known, with certainty, who was this man nor what he became afterward. An unknown man thus. Also, we have never known whom had become the driver of the tank at the head of the column. This one did not want to crush the stubborn pedestrian, He had tried hard to by-pass the man with bags, but to no avail.

There are thus two unknowns men in this story. Maybe even three because orders to stand still or to crush this intruder have had to be made ... The third unknown man thus. What became of them ?

I quickly designed the two men. At first, the standing unknown had a vindictive attitude, The stretched out finger notifying its refusal. I changed this attitude and I gave an almost passive position to the standing man This position is more puzzling.

These two characters, face to face, are two same actors, stemming from the same people. So I cast one's head to fix it on the body of the other one, as twins.

For a long time I tried how to express the tank. I did not especially want to make a model and to lock the driver. I wanted that we can view this military from all the sides. And even see what he observes.

( Several versions are drawn stacked. First focused on the observation window of the tank and then on the steering wheel of the driver.)

But it was still giving too much importance to the vehicle. The armor plating is not the subject of the sculpture. I tried to stylize the tank at the most to stage the exchange of looks between the two men.

(Already, by placing the characters on the drawing, we quickly discover that the pavement is not large enough).

I tinkered this device in balsa wood because it had seemed to me well proportionned on the paper. (See drawing above)

This device has proved ridiculous in volume ... (The device looked like a rabote!).

I have still uncluttered the shape to obtain this balance between the two men. The faces of the two men are thus on the same level.

(later I added a last element: A quarter of cylinder under the driver, a wheel that makes the link between man and ground).

I created a base below designed as the strata of the earth.

( To obtain this effect I poured some very liquid plaster on the cellophane cooking wrapper. Then, to find a unity, I have reproduced the same graphics under the feet of standing unknown.)

"And the third character?" Will tell yourselves me.

I concretized him by a loudspeaker situated to the feet of the tank driver...






Height: 39 cms, Length: 43 cms, Width: 11 cms.



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Bruce Krebs, sculptor
9 ter street Amelot, 17 000 La Rochelle,
France, Europe.
To send an E-mail to me:atelier.bruce.krebs@wanadoo.fr