Artist Talk: Wednesday, May 17 at 7pm
Doors Open at 6:30 pm; $8 Suggested Donation
Join Hillyer Art Space for an intimate conversation with artist Kang Mu-Xiang, an internationally recognized and innovative sculptor from Taiwan, who will be visiting DC for this presentation about his work followed by an audience Q&A. The program is presented in partnership with the Washington Sculptors Group and the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.
Born in 1961 in Tongxiao, Miaoli County, Taiwan, Kang Mu-Xiang — often referred to as the “primitive man of modern Taiwan”— is one of the few Taiwanese sculptors who have made the way onto the international stage.
Kang was first introduced to traditional woodcarving skill at the age of 13. And in the past 30 years, he constantly transcends from the traditional craftsmanship, challenges himself and pushes through his own limitation, and entered the territory of contemporary art. Kang’s works is the combination of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary artistic elements. However, no matter how much Kang’s been evolving, what’s always remain in his works is the strong connection to the Mother Nature.
In 2002, Kang Mu-Xiang was invited to spend one year on Turtle Island, one uninhabited island on the northeast coast of Taiwan. In that year of absolute isolation, Kang used the driftwoods on the island for his artistic endeavors and entered a direct dialogue with the Mother Nature. This unique life experiences, sharpened Kang’s understanding and enabled him to gain his unique perspective of life. He created a series of works titled “Life” as the closure of this retreating and meditating year.
In 2013, Kang Mu-Xiang was invited by Taipei 101 building to create an environmentally friendly artwork with the steel cables that were previously used in the 101 floor elevators. Kang’s work titled “Unlimited Life” was exhibited at the plaza of the Taipei 101 building and received considerable attention.
In 2015, under the invitation from the city of Karlsruhe, Germany, Kang Mu-Xiang exhibited his steel-cable sculpture work titled “ Ruyi Life”, which was made with same renewed elevator steel cables of Taipei 101 building on the square of ZKM museum. This sculpture is on display permanently as the city landmark to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding year of the city.
Growing up by the rice paddy in the natural environment, Kang Mu-Xiang knows from the bottom of his heart how to be humble and appreciative for what the Mother Nature has to offer.
His sharp artistic eyes see through the surface of objects and found the everlasting life within used materials. Whether it is driftwoods or retired elevator steel cables, with the well-trained skills of tradition, Kang is able to renew them, transform them, and furthermore, bring out the brand new life with them.
The “thankfulness” and “cherishing what one has” attitudes towards life from traditional culture is the core value of Kang Mu-Xiang’s creativity. Kang’s artworks include three major factors: environmental friendly (core value), transformation (skills and performance) and innovation (artworks). With the everlasting power that is generated by the “humility” concept from East philosophy, Kang give rebirth to the abandoned materials.
The Project “One Steel Cable Connecting the World” by artist Kang Mu-Xiang was launched in summer 2016 . In the coming three years, His recycled steel cable sculptures will appear in the landmarks on the five continents in the world. Through gallery and museum exhibitions, artist Kang Mu-Xiang hopes to share his works and the stories behind them with the world.
Hillyer Art Space is located at 9 Hillyer Ct. NW.