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2011年9月7日 星期三

A Surprise in Taipei


One of the many surprises of this trip to Taiwan is a visit to the museum of Ju Ming. His name had been recommended to me by a friend. How surprised I was when I saw the figures at a sculpture garden resemble so much the one outside of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. I did not realize that he was the same artist until it became blindingly obvious at that garden. But my surprise began upon my very first steps into the museum. I saw collages, sculptures in stainless steel, in wood, in stones and collections of works by many other artists too.

According to the Wikipedia,
Ju Ming (朱銘) (1938-) is a Taiwanese sculptor who achieved fame in the 1970s Taiwan and then in 1983 when he exhobited in New York in 1983. As a teenager, he first trained as a woodcarver as an apprentice of  Lee Chin-chuan which skill he later applied bronze, styrofoam, ceramics, and then stainless steel. But opened his own studio with in his hometown Tunghsiao, married his wife Chen Fu-mei had a flourishing crafts business But he was not happy. After wiinning several awards in the prestigious Taiwan Provincial Art Exhibition, Ju re-apprenticed himself to Yang Yu Yu, just returned from a three-year art scholarship in Rome. Upon Yang's advice, Ju took up Tai Chi in 1976 for both physical and mental health. This gave him the idea of creating works on the principles of Tai Chi. This turned out to be a great success. In March the same year, he had a highly successful exhibition at the National Museum of History in Taipei and Ju was named one of the Ten Outstanding Youths of 1976.

Ju  then started what he called "The Living World" series of sculptures with bright figures of bronze, stainless steel, painted wood, foam rubber and cast bronze. He showed a remarkably free flow of rhythms in his sculptures.  His "Living World" series depicted figures drawn from a modern, westernised society. Then he started his own museum in a remote hill near to Kam Shan, outside of Taipei. The following was what I saw.


I saw many types of sculptures during this trip but I will concentrate first on his military series, depicting soldiers from the air, the sea and land. I'll start with those from the air.




This is the very first parachutist I saw. There will be many.





When I looked up, I saw many more. I like the way he positioned them under an skylight.





The same parachutists from a different angle.





One of the first outdoor parachutists.





More parachutists landing in the space outside the entrance hall.







Parachutists all over the place!





Parachutists across a stream outside the main exhibition hall in the background.






The parachutists crossing the stream. Bridging the two sides?





And even to the main museum itself!





Finally, we're home. An aircraft. That's where we belong!





And a battleship of the navy?






The navy and their battleship. An aircraft carrier with troops standing on parade?







Directing us towards the navy is a sailor of course!







Fall in line. Why're you facing two opposite directions, not the same?






Navy men have to carry their own personal belongings upon their
own backs too,  just like the infantrymen!






Sailors without women? You must be joking! Are we not in the age of so-called
"gender equality". Why must we avoid the word "sex", I wonder.






A foot solider from the army leading the way to the sculpture garden.









Solders in various postures lining the way.






Forward, forward, ever forward in a mask? For what?





Soldiers with various ancient weapons. Yes, killing is one of oldest professions in the world.






Who asked you to be an infantryman. March, no matter how tired you are!





A whole company of them? But heads all bowed, not held up.






And officers! Of course, they're not going to march on foot.






One soldier bearing the weight of the whole country and wondering why?






Run for your life, run, buddies, if you want to keep yours!






Trudging along. Thank God, no enemy in sight yet.






I'm going to save energy by using the "Tai Chi" method, with legs
slightly bent when marching!






What would a war be without casualties?






My my arm may be broken, I've got to march like the others!






And if need be, hobble along!






Some civilians, going about their business, all hiding under their umbrellas. What is their
"umbrella"? The military? The one in a red T-shirt with an umbrella and the other in a
blue T-shirt also with an umbrella are apparently tourists who wanted their pictures taken
by their friends.