Sunday, 4 September 2016

Singapore's Love of Ju Ming's Sculptures

It was in a free public exhibition of Ju Ming's sculptures in the Singapore Botanic Gardens in 2015 that was the 1st time when i was being introduced to this internationally renown Taiwanese artist, and was attracted to the expressive power of his sculptures.

In fact, i saw his work as early as 2009 in HK, but didn't pay any attention. Since the visit to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, i begun to notice his works and found them scattered in various places in Singapore.

Here are some of these places i came across.


There're 3 monumental series exhibit at the Ju Ming Museum in Taiwan: Nativist (鄉土), Taichi (太極) and Living World (人間) Series.

This group of sculptures, entitled Men with Umbrellas that belongs to the Living World Series, are found in the Ju Ming Museum (朱銘美術館).

Men with Umbrellas, Ju Ming Museum
"Men with Umbrellas" at Ju Ming Museum
Photo: Bernard Gagnon


 The Metropolis 
The sculptures of this Living World Series of "Men with Umbrellas", now entitled "12 Gentlemen" (a more accurate name because not all of them carry umbrellas) can now be seen in The Metropolis (tenants include SGX and P&G) on North Buona Vista Drive (about 6 mins walk from my place. Used to be 4 mins before the shortcut being blocked due to construction. It looks like another buildings or office towers are going to rise from the greens in front of the Metropolis in a few years).

google map, the Metropolis
Yes, the house icon marks my place

Unlike in his museum, the figures of these dozen men (one seems to be looking more like woman) are divided into 4 groups, scattered in front of Tower One of the Metropolis.

Ju Ming sculpture, The Twelve Gentlemen, The Metropolis, Singapore
Group 1: These 7 of the 12 male figures all carry umbrellas
and located in the forecourt of Tower One

Ju Ming sculpture, The Twelve Gentlemen, The Metropolis, Singapore
The Magnificent 7 as viewed at eye-to-eye level
I'm slightly taller than them. So I look down on them.

Ju Ming sculpture, The Twelve Gentlemen, The Metropolis, Singapore
After the rain, I quickly came out to snap a few photos.
It now makes more sense that they carry umbrellas. 
Having said that, in Singapore, umbrellas are more often used for the sun than the rain.

Ju Ming sculpture, The Twelve Gentlemen, The Metropolis, Singapore
Paradoxically, their facial features show up more clearly at night.
Yes, they do have facial features (most of them anyway).

Ju Ming sculpture, The Twelve Gentlemen, The Metropolis, Singapore
Group 2: Going to a ballet concert, gentlemen?
These smashing duo, who don't have open umbrellas, are placed together, but separate from the 7 umbrellas men. Could the one on the left be Wong Fei-hung in tux?


Ju Ming sculpture, The Twelve Gentlemen, The Metropolis, Singapore
Group 3: Just coming back from the airport, gentlemen?
This pair are also grouped together, and they're placed outside the office's forecourt, next to the street.

Ju Ming sculpture, The Twelve Gentlemen, The Metropolis, Singapore
Group 4: Need any company, lady?

This solitary figure on the step is placed between the main group in the forecourt and the duo on the street level. He or she is overdressed for Singapore (the figure looks like Liza Minnelli in tux). Who wears woolen scarf in Singapore? As for the gender, of course, it's neither a he nor a she, it's heart is made of stone or was it wood? Which one fares worse, heart of stone or wooden heart?

Don't leave yet. Proceed to Tower Two, you'll find more of Ju Ming's work. It's in fact a piece from his Taichi Series.

Ju Ming sculpture, Pushing Hands of The Taichi Series, The Metropolis, Singapore
Pushing Hands

By the way, all the Ju Ming sculptures in the Metropolis is on permanent display. So no need to book your plane ticket in a hurry.

Now you can leave the place.


 Capital Green 
This office building is decorated by art installations of various artists, but is dominated by Ju Ming's Living World Series artworks. I believe all these are all painted wood sculptures.

map, Capital Green, Raffles Place, Singapore
Capital Green (shown in red triangle) can be easily accessed by
either Telok Ayer or Raffles Place MRT stations

Ju Ming sculptures, Living World Series, Capital Green, Raffles Place, Singapore
Some figures do depict fast-pace living quite well: the flying hairs, the motion posture, the handbags.
If only 1 of the female figure is painted in blue and the other in black.
I could see that umbrellas are Ju Ming's fave accessories for his figures.

Ju Ming sculptures, Living World Series, Capital Green, Raffles Place, Singapore
Another nice depiction of real life. Look at the group of real people on the left of the photo.
One of them bends down, and another looks down at him. Art and life imitating each other.

Ju Ming sculptures, Living World Series, Capital Green, Raffles Place, Singapore
Various uniforms to indicate their different occupations. Do the blue and white represent blue and white collar workers?
For example, 2nd from the left is a doctor in lab coat with stethoscope.


Ju Ming sculptures, Living World Series, Capital Green, Raffles Place, Singapore
He could be one of the guy who left The Metropolis to work/pose here.

As Ju Ming himself said that the Taichi Series tends to be more solemn while the Living Series is full of tenderness and sweetness that found in life. I would totally agree with that in seeing these sculptures.


 Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall 
At the front lawn of the Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall is a few of sculptures in he Living World Series that i would like to call tube people (they're too fat to call spaghetti) that are made from iron tubes (chromed or au naturale).

Ju Ming sculptures, Living World Series, Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall, Singapore
A couple in romantic embrace

Ju Ming sculptures, Living World Series, Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall, Singapore


Ju Ming sculptures, Living World Series, Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall, Singapore




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