H31 × W31 × D380
1984 (120 days)
Chinese cypress is solid and has vitality. A complete branch of Chinese cypress 380 cm tall and 40 cm in diameter bears the marks of how many years? How much sunlight, air, water and nutrients from the soil has it breathed or absorbed via its deep roots? We generally think of it as dense and resilient enough to use in constructing housing or making durable furniture, but a tiny coffee-colored ant unique to northern Taiwan can struggle to break out of this tough and dense Chinese cypress! Life finds a way to survive, and join itself with others and show tolerance. Some will observe this work from below looking upward and see the ants struggling with all their might to break out of the crack. Others, observing downward from above see this feeble tiny ant successfully burrowing its soft body into the solid wood core! Is it struggling to break out or to work its way in? Is it seeking a way out to get a gulp of air or a way in to suck up the sweet tree sap? Is it freeing itself of binding or seeking enough room to call in its companions to build a nest? Depending on the observer’s mind and intention, what this work conveys is not just vivid ongoing action, but rather, a state of mind!
Wu’s wood sculpture of ants was his first notion to challenge himself. From raising ants, watching them and learning their behavior and appearance to creating likenesses of them, he immersed himself totally in the life of ants before he could accurately model their body language and behavior, capture their spectacular ecology, and profoundly dissect every detail, even depicting the great dexterity and leverage with which ants use their bodies to exert force. Whether one interprets them as breaking free of or burrowing into the wood, this realistic and detailed wood carving is the utmost. Chinese cypress is much harder to carve than other woods, but is more persuasive in expressing insights about life. What appear to be a desultory series of puncture marks is in fact a means of achieving a background effect akin to the irregular cleaving of oil paintings with their differences among similarities and similarities among differences. It is a gorgeous exhibition stage of completely naturally made wood. The very bottom part seemingly has, then does not have tiny cracks, making it a divinely inspired pen! This gives this realistic work an impressionistic layout. Its concrete and abstract arrangement manifests the profundity of “art”! Exhibitions ＊ July 1984 Taipei Fine Arts Museum, “Wood Sculpture of Ants Exhibition” ＊ August 1984 Kariya City Art Museum, “Wood Sculpture of Ants Exhibition” ＊ 1985 Touring exhibition at cultural centers all across Taiwan, “Wu Ching’s Wood Sculptures and His Ant World” ＊ March 2003 “Wu Ching’s Sculpture World” touring exhibition throughout northern, central and southern Taiwan at the invitation of the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Cultural and Educational Foundation ＊ May 2004 Chiyi Municipal Culture Center, “Wu Ching 2004 Sculpture Art Exhibition” ＊ 2006 Xingang, Chiayi County Cultural and Educational Foundation ＊ March 2007 National Center for Traditional Arts ＊ 2008 Invited to Participate in exhibition at Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum in Miaoli
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