Tina Keng Gallery is pleased to present Po-Chun Liu: Field of the Unknown. The artist is known not only for his decades-long practice in sculpture, but also for his use of steel. Unlike the cumbersome traditional sculpture, Liu's work embodies a linearity charged with tension and vim. Liu's unique sculptural language and artistic vision attest not only his focus on form and representation, but on the discourse and aesthetics of sculpture. The silhouette of a bodybuilder transforms into Liu's better-known series 'Iron Man,' which critiques humanity's hope and pursuit of balance, strength, and perfection in industrial civilisation.
Field of the Unknown is an extension of Liu's 2022 solo exhibition Archaeology and Contemporary Iron Art at the Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology in Bali, New Taipei City. While the Shihsanhang exhibition looks back on Taiwan's past archaeological discoveries in smelting through an artificial excavation site of a future civilisation, Field of the Unknown responds to the rapid advance of industrial technology and modern-day materialism by presenting an imagined future human habitat. The exhibition comprises four bodies of work: laser-cut work in two-dimensional form, clusters of steel blocks that the artist has nicknamed 'meteorites,' the notable 'Iron Man' series, and the kinetic installation he developed in recent years.
Field of the Unknown emphasises the viewer's participation through physical movement and perception, allowing them to experience the space on a sensory level. In the main exhibition space, the artist suspends meteorite-like chunks of cast steel, scattered throughout the space. Powered by motors and connecting metal wire, hundreds of small kinetic sculptures on the ground reverberate, and an eerie hum fills the space, light and shadow engaged in a haunting pas de deux, while visual and acoustic energy coalesce. The left and right walls are covered with laser-cut Iron Man relief works, as well as a group of meteorites of cast steel. Atop a sphere in the centre of the space is a giant man comprising countless steel chunks and mini Iron Men, whose body appears at once to materialise and dissipate, ringed by meteorite works that congregate to form interstellar clouds. A spiritual energy enshrouds the viewer in a microcosm where works echo and evolve in a constant dialogue.
Glinting steel moulded through the act of smelting, materiality and labor intertwined, mercurial layers upon layers, a lingering hum: the viewer's senses are awakened in overlapping microcosmic and macrocosmic visions. Field of the Unknown encapsulates Po-Chun Liu's humanistic contemplation of a utopian future in the age of technology, where vast terrain of steel manifests untapped possibilities in the universe, as well as a volatile state, distant and phantasmic, where human interiority and the future are inextricably concatenated.
Press release courtesy Tina Keng Gallery.
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