Metemorphosis of ironman
Exhibition Date｜September 17 to October 30, 2016
Exhibition Venue｜Chini Gallery, Taipei
Sculpturing—or more precisely, steel sculpturing—is the field that Po-Chun Liu has devoted himself to over the years. His “steel men,” which combines the images of bodybuilders with the concept of the indestructible bodies that span Buddhism, mythology, and science fiction, are undoubtedly the most representative motifs in his works. These “bodies of steel” have dominated the majority of Liu’s artistic creations, acting as the theme, key elements, components, and even as the structure of his art. He has continued to evolve and breathe new life into the concept.
This recurrent idea lies at the core of Metamorphoses of Steel Men. The exhibition encompasses four types of “steel men”: “scrap metal men,” “linear steel men,” “mortal steel men” from his “Slag” series, and clustered masses of “sheet metal men” (which include his brand-new Prismatic Steel Men). Through Liu’s artistic process that freely blends traditional, kitsch, and pop culture elements, he forges a unique context that showcases the richly ambiguous Metamorphoses of Steel Men.
Within the duplication and creation of this Metamorphoses series, we can observe the kinetic “bodily transformations” in Liu’s pieces as well as his inspired “physicalizations” of the real world. These “steel men,” with their superhuman forms and ideal, heroic or deified bodies, represent a variety of contradicting ideas: notions of grandeur and modesty, corporeality and illusion, nature and civilization, perfection and incompleteness, immortality and ruin, sublimity and kitsch, and being viewed as an icon of worship or a mere plaything. Such a spectacle of the body is both enchanting and disenchanting, “reflecting” the image of a perfect and ideal utopia, while at the same time painting a picture of heterotopia, transmutation, and alienation. Metamorphoses has fashioned a distinctive style of “somatotyping” and created a heterogeneous dimension that traverses the world of myths and fables and the fields of civilization and history, offering a profound interpretation of the human world as well as the universe.
Metamorphoses of Steel Men also marks a substantial and symbolic developmental shift in Po-Chun Liu’s artwork.