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2011年9月8日 星期四

Metal Figures

One of the things that I noticed during my visit to JuMing Museum (朱銘美術館) in Jinshan (金山) is how his style
evolved from complexity to simplicity with age.


 
            P9065623


This is the very first stainless steel sculpture I saw. It's "Swimming" done in 2009. Here
one can see that it is still largely realistic. It still belongs to the "Living World Series." But
the face has already become simplified.


 
           


Here in this photo, we see that the eyes have been reduced to two tiny slits upon a rectangular
head and the nose and mouth reduced to a horizontal slit plus a hole. Although entitled "Swimming", it
looks more like sunbathing than swimming. Her hair is reduced to a mere block with a few
horizontal lines.But we see all the essential of her posture. Then out in the park. I saw some
other metal sculptures sitting on various benches, as if they were various personalities resting
in the garden.



               


Here we see a simple figure made of four bent metal pipes with a
dent here and a dent there and a twisted pipe serving to tie the pipes
together.


               


Here we see another figure, sitting upon a pond like a woman holding two
little children, one in each hand, enjoying the breeze or the sun.


               


Here we find two or three people locked in embrace.


              


Another figure sitting on another bench, done in more or less the same
style.


              

  
Another figure sitting cross-legged with another figure with its upon its shoulder. I
like the simplicity of lines and the dents and creases at just the right places. He
hammers out the significant details rather like a cartoon artist. Just a few lines
and dots at the right place and you got a figure endowed with "life".


                


Another figure sitting on a bench and pointing at something or other.





A row of figures sitting outside the main gallery, all in slightly different postures.





Another two figures, sitting below at the side of the steps. One seems to be scratching his
shoulder, the other with one leg striding over the bench and facing and "watching" his companion.






A close up of the two figures. He makes skillful use of the reflecting surface of the window of
the main gallery to add to the spaciousness and freedom of the outdoor figures.





Two figures locked in embrace or an adult holding a child?


I like it that he doesn't even have to use any paint. He just relies on the natural play of light and
shadows to emphasize the lines and to create illusion of that it may be human beings that we are
seeing. Like Kafka, he merely sketches just sufficient details to render them human. But of course
he is concerned merely with "human" figures in various postures, not their interiority. Perhaps in
the postmodern world, humanity has been emptied of all interiority. We may all be just
different kinds of pipes and vessels, with a hard and shiny surface on the outside and just hollow
inside? Perhaps, in his view, we have become little more than mere gestures and postures, shiny
and strong on the outside but with no more minds or feelings inside, just mechanical beings
without any soul?