Botero and Ju Ming

Just got back from attending a bilingual dialogue with two sculptors I really like, Botero and Ju Ming. They both have pretty good pieces of public art here in Singapore: Botero did the Bird that sits on Boat Quay, Ju Ming the Taichi Boxers that used to be outside the History Museum.

One thing I learnt from art history classes back in college is that it's not always reasonable to expect artists to also express their visual concepts verbally, so while the talk was pretty standard I was grateful that both parties were at least fairly lucid rather than pretentious. Some lines I liked - Botero, in response to a question on sculpture and painting, said "sculpture is a painting with no end". Botero kept hammering home the "artists create art for themselves" point - in response to the moderator's question of whether considering the intended audience affects the work, he noted how some artists (Matisse, Henry Moore) speak more to a general audience that others (Arp, Mondrian - incidentally, I love Arp), but ultimately all of them created for themselves.

I thought it was interesting to see both artists try to articulate the relationship with site and locality - Botero spoke about how an artist needs some connection with his or her birthplace, and yet how a local artist is always too faithful to his environment - I guess that means the environment should inform but not define an artist's works.

Okay, more thoughts to come another time, sleep beckons. (Edit: more thoughts over at my reviews blog.)

Public works of art in Singapore.


Anonymous said…
Ah, yeah... The Bird is one of my fav sculptures because while it is simple, it has a very defining arsehole.

La Idler
Indri said…
When I was in art school, the glass artist Dale Chilhuly came to give a talk. It was wildly disappointing. Mostly he showed a couple of short films that had been made about his projects, and then he kept talking about how many people worked for him (Chihuly lost an eye in a motorcycle accident, so he doesn't blow his own work, but explains to gaffers what he wants). And we kept asking him what it all meant, but he wouldn't engage with us on that level.

I didn't want to believe at the time that it was possible that Chihuly--the man who revolutionzed art glass in America--didn't mean anything with his work except to see how far he could push the technical envelope. I'm okay with the idea now, but as an idealistic 25-year-old, it was hard to swallow.
Anonymous said…
shd anyone care to visit, a click on the "Recent Addition" :

14 September 2005: The Tai Chi Sculptures of Ju Ming (with "translations")

cld possibly be interesting

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