Singapore, February 2015 – In the midst of the fruit trees, bamboo and palm trees inside the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Ju Ming’s monumental bronze sculptures from his renowned Taichi Series harmoniously blended into the serene landscape.
A group of 15 sculptures ranging from 1.1m to 3.6m in height and 228kg to 1730kg in weight were strategically placed across the beautiful historic gardens.
I am a big fan of Ju Ming’s works, and it was such a treat to see this outdoor exhibition. His Tachi Series depicts the human figure practicing the traditional Chinese martial arts – taiji or taichi.
The exhibitor, iPreciation best described the artist’s works, “Ju Ming created this sculpture using both mechanical and manual approaches. The rapid knife strokes leave blade marks on the planes whilst the splits created by his hands leave random ruptures that are irregular and uneven, forming a vague human figure. His figures often represent classic taiji poses or in-between poses, speaking of balance, strength and dynamism. Its visual power and formal beauty are signature of Ju Ming’s Taichi Series work.”
In this article, I placed photos of the sculptures in chronological order since I believe the reader may appreciate to see the evolution of Ju Ming’s creativity over time.
My all-time favorite is Single Whip – an iconic Ju Ming artwork, which expresses the gravity by lowering one’s body and at the same time, the energy behind a counter-attack. It is an artwork that truly embodies Ju Ming’s artistic spirit.
The other one that left me with a deep impression is Split Taichi, which was created from the bronze casting of a single piece of tree trunk. According to the exhibitor’s brief, it is “literally split apart along its grain, transforming into two separate figures consequently in interaction with one another.”
Notably, the Taichi Arches are much more abstract than Ju Ming’s other sculptures from the pre-millennium period. These abstract forms reflect Ju Ming’s “belief in capturing likeness and spirit in minimal strokes. They are developed from the “pushing hand” combative sequences of taiji boxing. In contrast to the Taichi pair figures in the series, these hands are linked, reflecting the flow of energy created through the movement of the muscles, visibly transformed into an arch.”
This outdoor exhibition was an ingenious display of Ju Ming’s sculptures. When I visited it at about 9am, I saw various people exercising in the gardens…and yes, there were a few clusters of people practicing taichi. Look closely at my photo of Taichi Arch and you should be able to see a taichi master!
This exhibition at Singapore Botanic Garden ran from Jan 17 to April 16, 2015.
All photos were taken by Mrs. King.