【凝視的刻線－2021陳正雄個展】The Carving of Gaze－Cheng-Hsiung Chen Solo Exhibition 2021
日期：2021-05-08 ~ 2021-10-11
The Carving of Gaze－Cheng-Hsiung Chen Solo Exhibition 2021
"As I go on walks to the park with my wife, whenever I see someone whose looks are remarkable, I fix my eyes on them to remember them as best as I can, carve them. Once my gaze remains stuck for a while, my wife will scold me saying: 'Stop staring at other people!'"
After becoming acquainted with the art of carving for temples and making of religious statues in 1955, Cheng-Hsiung Chen(1942-), a local artist from Tainan, started making his own attempts at artistic creation in the 1960s, which developed into portrait sculpture based on the techniques he'd previously learned. His works place emphasis on realistic depiction, albeit sparse, tiny marks left from carving distinguish his personal style. As stated in Cheng-Hsiung Chen's description, it is everyday people from Tainan that infuse life into these statues. When observing his works, it is as if I see through the artist's lens and discover in our ordinary reality the energy that each piece has to transmit.
The uneven knife marks enhance the sense of volume from the blocks and overall form of each work, while delineating clearer curves that bring out light and shadow. On multiple occasions, Cheng-Hsiung Chen has obtained recommendations and entered art competitions such as the Taiwan Provincial Fine Arts Exhibition, Tainan Fine Arts Association (TFAA), and Shinkouzou Exposition. The first time he was shortlisted for the Taiwan Provincial Fine Arts Exhibition, jury member Yu-Yu Yang remarked on the painstaking precision and delicateness of his traditional knife technique, and encouraged him to make bolder efforts with the skill. Cheng-Hsiung Chen's later works not only displayed lifelike details but also profuse knife marks on the surface, which strikingly combined the organic quality of wood grain with human depiction.
For this exhibition, Chen-Hsiung Chen's oeuvre and style periods were arranged in chronological order to highlight his artistic evolution. Self-study is evident in his early style, which furthermore reflects the development of sculpture in Taiwan during the 1970s: Works from this period show influences from local realism and academic art, enabling viewers to perceive the zeitgeist while re-affirming the artist's exalted place in the history of Taiwanese sculpture. Moreover, Chen-Hsiung Chen's works recognized in art exhibitions at home and abroad are also showcased here, which shed light on the judgments and preferences toward sculpture prevalent in the two nations. Finally, the exhibition portrays Chen-Hsiung Chen's thoughts on life and background through his different portrait series. For example, Returning from Fishing at Sea depicts the artist's childhood memories; Group in Front of the Temple alludes to his first teacher, Huan-Mei Lee; and Gazing at Homeland displays the enigmatic gazes of friends and family.
Chen-Hsiung Chen's oeuvre gained the admiration of Tainan City Government, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, and Wen-Long Shi, founder of the Chimei Museum, all of whom commissioned the creation of bronze public sculptures. This exhibition will thus feature the Map of Cheng-Hsiung Chen's Works and showcase the original wood and bronze models for these public artworks in correlation with the map. Distributed throughout Tainan, these sculptures allow residents and visitors to better appreciate Tainan's culture, and they show the artist's love for his hometown and his profound artistic skills.
The name of this exhibition, The Carving of Gaze, not only denotes the tiny, profuse knife marks characteristic of the artist's creations, but also lays emphasis on how the artist immortalizes the looks of people around him by carving. Likewise, these statues exchange gazes with viewers as both share the same everyday reality. This exhibition also features video interviews, historical documents, photos while working, and incomplete wood models of Chen-Hsiung Chen, so that visitors can understand more on his creation process, and get a taste of the artist's dedication and determination—a decade of work flies away like one day.
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