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incised with the artist's signature in Chinese, dated '85 and number 5/6
executed in 1985, This work is number 5 from an edition of 6.
Important Private Asian Collection
Hsinchu, Art Park, Awakenings Grand Landscape: Sculpture Exhibition, 1994
Cheng Kuowen, ed., Awakenings Grand Landscape: Sulpture Exhibition, Yeh's Culture Foundation Published, Taipei, 1994, p. 4, illustrated in colour
A MASTERPIECE BY JU MING: TAICHI SERIES - SINGLE WHIP
The term Taichi originates from the Great Treatise of the Book of Changes: "In (the system of) the Yi there is the Grand Terminus [taichi], which produced the two elementary Forms." The physical practice of Taichi incorporates three elements: cultivating one's spirit, strengthening one's energy flow [qi], and exercising one's body. On a philosophical level, Taichi integrates such profound ancient Chinese wisdoms as "follow the Way," "revel in play," "begin from nothingness," "use non-action as the source for all actions," and "utilize soft to subdue hard."
Single Whip (Lot 805) is the most classic of all of Ju Ming's Taichi Series, its title a veritable physical form. Actually, "Single Whip" is one of the fundamental forms in Taichi: by lowering one's centre of gravity to avert the opponent's attack, one uses the pose to launch a counterattack as the body rapidly darts forward and upward. The artist successfully captures its inherent dramatic momentum with a visual power and formal beauty through which the viewer can comprehend the strong harmony embodied in Taichi between Man and Nature.
Ju Ming once said, "Taichi imitates the harmonious and cooperative relationships within Nature. I discover there are similar qualities between Taichi and my own artistic spirit. Now I make Taichi sculptures and practice Taichi. Through them, I set out to achieve that perfect expression of the union between Man and Nature." In addition to the importance of Nature, Ju Ming also emphasizes shape and form, that "in a work that is harmonious and alive, the texture of each part should flow in a way that serves the work's inner energy and sense of motion in order to present an overall shape that possesses natural rhythm. This kind of vitality is transmitted when the inner qualities achieve outer effects. A successful work cannot be the result of some arbitrary addition or subtraction of random modules, it must have an almost instinctual, independently unique vital condition. Only then is it natural."
The artist employs a technique never ever used before: he preserves the grain of the wood, even the marks where the blade had cut, so that a record of growth and destruction of the material are exposed. Amidst the actions of axe chopping, peeling and chiseling, Ju Ming created a dialogue with his medium. After casting the wood in copper, the visible wood grains are true testaments to the artist's strength wielded in the process, revealing Ju Ming's solid early training in wood carving that formed the basis of his phenomenally successful Taichi series. The artist has combined his extraordinary talent and skill in conferring vitality to a solid and substantial material, creating this large, commanding sculpture entitled Single Whip.
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