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“From Organic to Monumental—The Sculpture Exhibition of Chin-chih Kuo” Opens the Gate to Modern Sculpture in Taiwan

The opening ceremony of “From Organic to Monumental—The Sculpture Exhibition of Chin-chih Kuo,” organized by National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall of Ministry of Culture, was held at Chungshan National Gallery today (Dec. 30). The distinguished guests including Political Deputy Minister of Culture, Hsiao Tsung-huang, Director-general of National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Wang Lan-sheng, Director of National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Liao Ren-yi, President of National Taiwan University of Arts, Chen Chih-cheng, the famous poet, Prof. Shi Mu-rung, and the artist, Prof. Wang Hsiu-chi, attended the ceremony.

     Political Deputy Minister of Culture, Hsiao Tsung-huang, on behalf of Minister of Culture, Lee Yung-te, paid tribute to Prof. Kuo Chin-chih. He said Prof. Kuo has never changed his pursuit for the uniqueness and locality of sculpture after the different experiments and transitions on copper casting, stone sculpture, metal, mixed media, and space shaping. In his sculpture creation of more than half century, he has made years of explorations and breakthroughs from the early realistic style and created the personal style with the unique Oriental temperament. Wandering between figuration and abstraction, he not only shines on the international stage but also becomes the epitome of the development of modern sculpture in Taiwan.

     Director-general Wang Lan-sheng of National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall said this exhibition is a heavyweight one. Besides the huge size of the works, Prof. Kuo Chin-chih is also a significant senior artist in the sculpture circle of Taiwan. The exhibition starts before the opening ceremony is held in order to collect the exhibition scenes in the album because Kuo emphasizes that sculpture is not only the concern for the works but also for their relationship with the space and the environment. The visitors can appreciate and shuttle through the works at the same time. The artist dedicates his life to studying various creative media and exploring all possible relationship between sculpture and space, which therefore leads to his personal unique style. In particular, the works of mixed media can be appreciated from various angles and perspectives. The exhibited works are diverse and various. Welcome to seize the opportunity to visit the exhibition.

     Director of National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Liao Ren-yi, who has studied the history of sculpture in Taiwan for a long time, said Prof. Kuo has experimented and researched on almost all of the possible media such as stone sculpture, wood sculpture, bronze, and stainless steel from the creation of concrete sculptures to that of mixed media. His works combine rationality and sensibility, dealing with the potential power of the materials with the very rational and scientific skills to develop the perceptual creative symbols and convey the messages of the time and the society. His works are deeply localized. As the first-generation sculpture artist in post-war Taiwan, Kuo has the deep influence on the development of sculpture history in Taiwan. The younger sculpture artists are all influenced by Kuo’s creative style that is both free and rigorous, which shows his significant part in the history of sculpture in Taiwan.

     The curator Shih Jui-jen said the exhibition divides Prof. Kuo’s diverse and various lifetime creation into the two subjects, “Sixty Years of Sculpture Career” and “Cross-Century Artistic Monument.” The north room exhibits 41 pieces of Kuo’s medium and small original works of various styles. These medium and small works, which are humbly called “exercises” by Kuo, are actually the trace of an artist’s mental journey as well as the hard work of his long accumulation and preparation to develop the mature masterpieces and monumental modern sculptures. The south room presents the different examples and various achievements of Kuo’s progress from the personal studio and art exhibition rooms to the social space and public fields since the 1980s. They are gathered as Kuo’s another creative peak and art spectrum for more than twenty years in his career of sculpture, also faintly echoing the social prosperity after the lifting of martial law and the economic takeoff in Taiwan as well as the atmosphere of the new cultural construction at that time.

     Prof. Kuo Chin-chih said he was very grateful for returning to Chungshan National Gallery to hold a cross-year sculpture exhibition after leaving Taipei for more than thirty years. He mentioned he had been studying modeling and materials in the early stage of his creative career. Through the trial modeling and material experiment, he explored the issue of sculpture aesthetics, found his personal style, and engaged in the creative form of mixed media. Through the translation of totems and modeling, the creative ideas contained in the works show the multicultural characteristics and prove the solid cultural foundation of Taiwan. The creative style of sculpture is neither the tradition left behind by the Japanese nor the western modern features but the typical Taiwanese local and original sculpture. He believes only by making the works of the unique style can an artist keep in line with the world and win recognition.

     According to National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Kuo Chin-chih makes “people” the basic creative ideas, uses the concepts of “figuration” and “abstraction” and of “substance” and “penetration” to explore the creative methods of carving, molding, casting, cutting, joining, and inlaying through mixed media. He spends a large amount of time thinking, exploring, trying, and experimenting to create the heterogeneous relationship with the space and environment. Therefore, his creative aspects break the traditional single concept of sculpture in the progress of fine arts in Taiwan, construct the diverse thinking space, and enrich the art of sculpture in Taiwan. At the same time, his artworks are monumental to record local culture and history. In recent years, Kuo has spent less time on creation, but his thinking about art has never stopped. From the basic modeling of sculpture when he was young to his unique and pioneering modern sculpture, he has played with the possibilities of media, made artistic creation his lifelong career, and continued to converse with the world through his works with years of persistence.

     The exhibition includes an on-site creation. The visitors can feel the shocking power of sculpture and his skills of using mixed media at a close distance through the combination of the virtual and real image projection and the sculptures. The distribution map of Kuo’s large sculptures all over Taiwan is also displayed on site. By scanning the QR Code with the digital vehicle, the visitors will have the access to the related photos and films. When visiting these scenes in person, they can feel the charm of the works better.

     “From Organic to Monumental—The Sculpture Exhibition of Chin-chih Kuo” displays 48 splendid works. It is a major cro