New Taipei City exhibition celebrates sculptor Ju Ming

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, Jan 03, 2013 - Page 3

A special exhibition at a museum in New Taipei City (新北市) is showcasing the life of Ju Ming (朱銘), the nation’s best-known sculptor, and how the people in his hometown inspired him to create his works of art.

Nearly 90 sculptures made by the 74-year-old artist are on display at the Ju Ming — Nostalgia exhibition, which opened on Saturday at the Ju Ming Museum in the seaside district of Jinshan (金山).

The exhibition, which runs until Dec. 1, is part of a series of exhibitions and workshops planned by the privately owned museum to publicize studies on Ju’s work, the sources of his creations and his life as a sculptor, which began when he started studying the medium at the age of 15, the museum said. The exhibit also features a documentary about the artist and showcases items related to his artistic development.

One of the highlights of the exhibit is a wooden piece, titled In One Heart, that Ju crafted in 1996 and is a reproduction of one of his earlier works.

Featuring an ox cart laden with logs being pushed uphill by farmers, the sculpture amazed the nation’s literati at the artist’s first show at the National Museum of History in Taipei in 1976.

In the 1970s, a nativistic movement came into prominence in Taiwan as the nation faced tough diplomatic challenges, including its withdrawal from the UN.

At that time, Ju carved his Nativist series to express his strong feeling for the land where he was born and grew up.

“The age of rural living has long passed. However, as my chisel moves through the wood, its image resurfaces ever more clearly. To be able to express my nostalgia through familiar methods and mediums brings me true joy,” Ju said in a statement at the launch of the exhibition at his eponymous museum, which he founded in 1999.

Other early works by the sculptor, such as his Historical Figures series and part of his Living World series, are also on display at the New Taipei City museum.

Born in 1938 in Miaoli County, the sculptor grew up in poverty and quit school to become an apprentice to a woodcarver at the age of 15.

Since then, he has amazed art aficionados with his unique designs.

His solo show at the National Museum of History won Ju nationwide fame, but it was his Taichi series in 1978 that garnered his work global attention.