H26 × W23 × D49
1994 (760 days)
For this sculpted image an entire block of boxwood was used. A period of more than two years was spent to achieve over 90 percent of the appearance of real skin, which was a technical challenge. Permeable hair follicles, a subtle grin not yet much apparent, eyes only open 20 percent or so, yet sparkling with life, a visage clear and at ease, thin and translucent skin which cannot contain teeming vitality, illusory and transfigured butterflies, breaking out of their cocoons and flying out from the head to go live. That is like the seemingly real, seemingly fantasized butterflies of which Chuang-tzu dreamed, and is also surrealistic and infused with the aesthetic of fitting about at ease. The butterflies are happy and after picking out the self-absorption with ego, there is nothing that one is reluctant to part with, cling on to, nor anything to argue about or be entangled in, cut off or be irrational about. This take off which transcends the shackles of human nature is light, and the head, no longer being subject to the limitations of the body, is artistic, replete with the Dharma bliss and composure of enlightenment, at one with nature, heading toward the transcendence of life and toward eternity, long since unable to distinguish between being a butterfly or one’s self, between dream and reality…
Only with creative purity can one create this kind of precious work. This heavy and solid block of boxwood has become a face as thin as a cicada’s wing. What is startling is that even though it is thin enough to be translucent, one can very clearly see several random aspects of real skin. Over 760 days of beholding oneself and neither one growing tired of the other, the artist gave birth to another self, a thinking and creative self, carving wood obtained from nature cut after cut, scraping it thin scrape after scrape, watching it transform from a knot of wood into a thin face. It is in no way a mask; it is a genuine self. That challenging process was undoubtedly tormenting. No wonder that when creating a magnificent work, I was moved by an uncontrollable sense of satisfaction with the initial results and wanted to share with everyone “a feast of Buddhist joy replete with dharma bliss.
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