Opening December 12, 2020 in Bowers’ stunning East West Bank Gallery, Treasures in Gold & Jade: Masterworks from Taiwan features the outstanding sculptures of two of Taiwan’s premier living artists: Wu Ching, a sculptor who creates intricate carvings which he translates to pure gold using a classic lost wax technique; and Huang Fu-shou, whose skill for jade carving allows him to create impossibly delicate forms. Because of the supremely delicate nature of the artworks, a special expert team is being flown in from Taiwan to handle installation of the masterful pieces.
In this exhibition, twenty-seven jade carvings by Huang Fu-Shou show a surprising range of color. Often carved from a single stone, fish springing from water, insects weightlessly clinging to blades of grass, and stone bending with litheness of fabric each push the boundaries of what is possible with the rigid medium. Poems written by the artist himself will accompany each artwork.
Also on display, seventeen breathtaking gold sculptures by Wu Ching capture the majesty of the medium. In Reminiscences of Rustic Pleasures, over 500 ants and various insects swarm in a flurry of activity that took three years to complete.
This extraordinary exhibition will be free with General Admission to the museum and accompanied by an array of premiere programming, including opening weekend presentations by the artists themselves and a noted gemologist from Bangkok, Lotus Gemology’s Richard Hughes, who will provide an in-depth look at the history of jade. Tickets and details at bowers.org.
A breathtaking compilation of images and essays are presented in the exhibition’s catalog, available for purchase from Bowers Gallery Store. 80-pages, full color, hardcover, bilingual in Taiwanese and English, $25. Proceeds benefit Bowers education programs. Shop Bowers Gallery Store at shop.bowers.org.
Treasures in Gold & Jade: Masterworks from Taiwan is presented by the Bowers Museum and sponsored by the Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles, an arm of the Taiwan Ministry of Culture. The exhibition runs 12/12/20-5/23/21 before traveling to the Houston Museum of Natural Science 6/18-12/5/21. Promotional images and additional resources available are here.
The two living masters whose work will be on display have practiced their crafts for a combined century. The gold that Wu Ching works is a malleable, brilliantly yellow metal associated with enlightenment in the Buddhist tradition. The jade that Huang Fu-shou carves is not one but two stones that can be called jade: jadeite and nephrite.
The nuanced selection of works on display speak to two lifetimes of grappling with complex philosophical topics. Wu Ching’s works are deeply rooted in Buddhist doctrine and follow the sensory pleasures of his childhood all the way to the dawning of his spiritual enlightenment. Huang Fu-shou roots his work in poetry, almost every carving speaking to an unchanging or cyclical natural world and a metamorphosizing self.
In Prosperous Descendants, Wu Ching recalls his childhood memories playing under the melon vines. They grow along bamboo scaffolds made from bronze, with an array of bugs on top. This piece consists of thousands of components in all sizes, which is made by using the “oxyhydrogen welding” technique at a high temperature before being assembled. The complex and exquisite craftsmanship makes the piece vibrant. The entire sculpture would have taken 10 years to complete if a person spends 8 hours a day on it, it is a rarely seen large-scale gold sculpture that requires complicated procedures and artistry to master.
About Bowers Museum
The Bowers Museum has earned an international reputation through its world-class exhibitions, including Guo Pei: Couture Beyond; A Quest for Beauty: Van Cleef & Arpels; Warriors, Tombs and
Temples: China’s Enduring Legacy; Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor; and Mummies–Death and the Afterlife: Treasures from the British Museum, and the current presentation of Inside the Walt Disney Archives on view through February 28, 2021; in addition to its own extensive art collections from the Pacific Rim. While at the Bowers visitors can enjoy a leisurely luncheon the award-winning Patina restaurant, Tangata and browse the rare and exotic at the Bowers Museum Gallery Store. Visit bowers.org for information and tickets.
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