Fri, Dec 17, 2004 - Page 14 News List

Kaohsiung steels itself for sculpture festival

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

Iron and steel is art at the 2004 International Steel and Iron Sculpture Festival.

PHOTO COURTESY OF L'ORANGERIE INTERNATIONAL

Kaohsiung will be showing its artistic mettle over the coming weeks, when the city hosts the 2004 International Steel and Iron Sculpture Festival (國際鋼雕藝術節) and transforms its harbor-side Pier 2 Arts District (駁二藝術特處區) into a huge outdoor arena for metal crafts.

The biennial event was established in 2002 to celebrate the seaport city's historical relationship with iron and steel. Like several of Taiwan's other localized festivals -- Hsinchu's glass-blowing and Hualien's marble- sculpting festivals -- the Steel and Iron Festival features art that draws on materials once vital to its local economy.

Jointly organized by the L'Orangerie International Art Consultants (橘園國際藝術策展股份有限公司) and the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts (高雄市立美術館), which has donated 11 of its own large sculptures to event, and co-sponsored by Council for Cultural Affairs (文建會), the theme of this year's festival is "Welding of a Different World."

This year's festival will showcase the underlying aesthetics of iron and steel sculpture from an international perspective. The festival will incorporate a dozen specially commissioned works by metal craft artists from home and abroad.

Ten well-known steel and iron sculptors from five countries have been invited to participate in this year's event. They will create new works under the public's watchful gaze over the two-week period.

Five leading Taiwanese sculptors have been chosen to represent the host nation: Ku Le-le (古勒勒), Frank Fang (方惠光), Lu Hsien-fu (盧憲孚), Liang Jen-hung (梁任宏) and Liuo Po-chun (劉柏村). All of these artists have held successful exhibitions throughout Taiwan, Europe and the Americas. The five local metal craftsmen will be joined by international artists Zhan Wang (展望) from China, Satoru Takada from Japan, Kristaps Gulbis from Latvia and David Lee Thompson and Joel Haas from the US.

Along with creating several new works in the run-up to and during the festival, the artists also will give the public insight into the nuances of ferrous metal sculpture. Each artist will hold a series of public workshops where they will explain and demonstrate techniques and methods for tackling metal craft. They will also lecture on the history and development of steel sculpture and the styles and creative approaches in the field of metal craft.

The festival will also offer historical tours for those who want to learn more about the city's long affiliation with ferrous metals. The Kaohsiung headquarters of both China Steel and China Shipbuilding will open their doors to the public in the coming weeks and provide guided tours of their plants.

All the art created during the festival has been specially commissioned by the event organizers and so will remain in Kaohsiung after the festival. While locales have yet to be finalized, each of the works will be placed on permanent display in public areas.

For further information and a full schedule, visit the festival's official website at www.khcc.gov.tw/metal.

All information is available in English.

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