Some artworks are very straightforward that it only takes a second to figure out what they are and what they mean. Others are more of a mystery, with their meanings subject to the viewer’s interpretation. One perfect example of the latter is this collection of mind-boggling wooden figures by Taiwanese sculptor Tung Ming-Chin.
This artist is an expert at transforming wood into enigmatic and emotive sculptures. His smoothly polished creations surprise the spectator with new details depending on the angle where they look.
Ming-Chin tries to actualize the concept of escaping from a psychological prison by creating wooden figures that make it appear as if humans or objects are attempting to break free. The beings and things trying to escape represent inner emotions and the subconscious mind.
For example, his 2013 masterpiece “Breath” is a metaphor for “the transformation of a physical space into an inner psychological space affected by vision.”
The wooden figures, which look like the silhouette of crouched humans, have limbs that jut out below. This jarring detail shrouds the artwork with an even thicker cloak of mystery.
In “Inner Turmoil,” Ming-Chin transformed the wood into what looks like a thin fabric attached to a wall. From inside, a person is pushing against the material.
The artist’s other sculptures include the use of cultural symbols, as seen in “Between Round and Square: Past, Present, and Future.” Here, Ming-Chin explores the forms of the traditional jade cong and jade bi, which symbolized earth and sky in ancient Chinese culture.
“The work is presented in the prismatic form; the appearance of the object demonstrates the passing of time,” he wrote.
“The bottom of the pillar lays the ancient jade cong and the plastic bottle sits on the top. The hidden part in the middle implies the development and imagination of square and round during the course of time in the past.”
“On the body of the pillar are mostly utensils, and from the utensils we can see the change of times and the lifestyle of people. Time passes and people change, but some truth and aesthetics will last forever.”
Born in Changhua, Taiwan, Ming-Chin earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Taipei National University of the Arts in 2005 and 2009, respectively. He developed his wood carving skills in Sanyi Wood Carving Training Camp for gifted students in 2013.
Today, he is a renowned sculptor who has made a name for himself in the art world. He has held several solo exhibits like such as “Inner Truth” at ARTHIS FINE ART, Taichung, “Beyond Relationship” at Fu-Guei-Sanyi Arts & Culture Ltd. Co., Miaoli and more. The artist has also participated in many group exhibits in Taiwan.
Check out some of his most amazing work in the gallery below.
Tung Ming-Chin’s incredible wooden sculptures are included in the Taiwan Contemporary Art Archive (TCAA) cloud database. You may view more of his works in this free online platform, which aims to introduce Taiwan’s local artists to the rest of the world.