Singapore, Singapore Art Museum, 2004
Beijing, National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), Ju Ming Taichi Sculpture Exhibition, 2006
The present work belongs to Ju Ming's acclaimed Tai Chi Series – a substantial group of monumental bronze figures each performing one of the highly controlled 'forms', or motions, which define this historic Chinese martial art. At once static and explosive, solid yet graceful, the figures embody the rhythmic vitality of Tai Chi, demonstrating the sense of spatial equilibrium which epitomises this series of sculptures. This physical harmony extends to the spiritual dimension; the artist's temperament is manifest in every nuance of texture, every manipulation of form, engaging the viewer in a state meditation. Ju Ming's Tai Chi practitioners stand larger than life, and while they brim with movement and poise, they are inhuman, godlike and eternal, reminiscent of the gargantuan Moai figures of Easter Island.
Ju Ming was born in 1938 in Tunghsiao, Taiwan, and trained initially as a woodcarver in the studio of Master Chiu Chuan Li. Dissatisfied with the creative limitations of his trade, he began an apprenticeship in modern sculpture with the studio of Yang Yu-Yu, where he remained from 1968 to 1976. Having developed his skills in a range of sculpting practises, including bronze casting, ceramics and stainless steel fabrication, Ju Ming held his first standalone international exhibition at Tokyo Central Museum the following year. Since then he has exhibited widely throughout Asia and the West, with other casts from this edition having been exhibited at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the Place Vendome in Paris. A further example was displayed at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 1991, making this one of the most familiar and widely exhibited works by the artist.
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