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    Sale 2617

    Chinese 20th Century Art (Evening Sale)

    30 November 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 563


    Price Realised  


    (Born in 1938)
    Taichi Series - Turn Stomp
    signed and dated 'Ju Ming; 80' in Chinese (lower bottom)
    wood sculpture
    62 x 60 x 45 cm. (24 1/4 x 23 1/2 x 17 3/4 in.)
    Executed in 1980

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    In 1976, Ju Ming debuted with his sculptural exhibition at the State Historic Museum to great success, exhibiting his Taichi series (then named Kung Fu series), intending to explore broader artistic fields besides the themes of traditional folk-art, realism and morality. Ju Ming had made successful developments in sculptural art, but the Taichi series executed post 1976 saw a clear understanding of the rhythm and life imbued within this craft, and further explored possible methods to improve what he believed to be overly meticulous and calculated steps within the practice. At the same time Ju's travels around Europe and his encounters with the huge stone constructs of ancient Rome inspired him to create grandiose works with clean contours and feelings of monumentality. His creations since 1980s have been more flexible and free. Taichi Series - Turn Stomp (lot 563) created in 1980, displays Ju's artistic approach in responding to concepts and inspirations that have paved new routes for Ju's creative energy. Abandoning the integral conception for body sculpting, life is displayed through textures of wood itself plus few very simple cuts and cracks to express dynamism and weight. Ju forgoes the pursuit of detail, caring not to depict traditional long sleeves or buttons, instead grasping the fundamentals of one's movement, the clean, swift stances of motion, providing the piece with simultaneous movement and grounding. As with man's interaction with nature, the movement Taichi evokes an energy that encapsulates man's unfathomable spiritual and physical tenacity. The work symbolizes that Ju Ming thoroughly breaks away the illustration of the themes and the restrictions by the specific materials, enters into a type of the pure spiritualism and nature, which is the real establishment and maturity of the Taichi sculptures.

    The Taichi series imitates various forms and movements in Taichi, complying with the natural rhythm of the body, bringing the movements of meridians and pulses, and its generation of dynamic and static movements and the integration of both to reflect the operative law of nature. With modern-sense sculpting media and techniques, Taichi is reinterpreted from traditional Chinese cultural elements such as Taichi, Yin-Yang etc, and establishes Ju's artistic status and great significance in integrating the ancient with the modern in contemporary Chinese art.

    The whole piece of wood is only rendered with a few cuts which all combine to form the force of a human body bending upwards, and the huge wood set underneath gives force to the upper body to produce a flat punch, forcing movement with a sense of internal kinetic energy. It is as stable as is it dynamic, light as a cloud and supple. The Taichi sculptures by Ju depict different movements, but simultaneously express a delicate balance between movement and non movement. Ju once interpreted the real meaning of Taichi: "Taichi has one biggest characteristic, which is not to counteract or lose. When an opposition produces a punch, by not resisting his energy is naturally eliminated. At the same time, if he wishes to escape, I shall not allow him to, I will not let him succeed in his wish. If one practices to this level, he is a master."

    In the 1979s, Ju Ming chose wood as the media for his exploration and consideration of Taichi series, which can be described as a profound artistic ideal of integrating form with theme. Wood is a supple material because it displays scars from the past through textures, knots and scratches, standing as a testament against the environment, water and soil. Sculpting such an organic form through cuts and engraving might mean to impose voids and absence on the wood, but simultaneously it adds new substance and creative presence on it. Taichi can be seen as the combination of human and nature, in which human beings contact and imitate with their bodies the natural phenomenon of the universe. The Taichi spirit assists people to return to their natural state, complemented by Ju's use of material. Wood stands as the ideal material for the artist to extract the essence of Taichi; it is the hidden life behind wood that helps Ju to burst free, truly attaining the merging of humans with nature. The significance of Taichi not only is represented in its pure form, but also expressed through its release and creation in wood.


    Private Collection, Asia