July 10, 2019

“Rebirth” Exhibit at Grounds For Sculpture

“IGNORE ME”: This large-scale sculpture is one of six now on view in “Rebirth: Kang Muxiang,” at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton through May 2020. The works are made from steel elevator cables from Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings. (Photo by George Chevalier)

Now on view at Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) in Hamilton, “Rebirth: Kang Muxiang” is an exhibition of six large-scale sculptures by Taiwanese artist Kang Muxiang, sited outdoors in the gardens. Massive yet graceful, the embryonic forms are made from steel elevator cables from Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings. The works range in size, with the largest standing nearly 10 feet tall and weighing several thousand pounds.

Kang began his artistic practice with traditional woodcarving at the age of 13. Eventually turning to other media, the artist has also worked in bronze and stainless steel. In 2002, Kang spent a year living a largely solitary and primitive lifestyle on Guishan (Turtle Island), off the coast of Taiwan. This experience motivated him to create his Life series of sculptures that explores how our way of life impacts future generations.

In 2013 Kang was invited by Taipei 101 to create art using expired cables from the building’s elevators. Coated in black viscous oil from their long use, the elevator cables must be cleaned, as the first step in the artist’s process. To aid with this process, Kang employs inmates from a minimum-security prison in a program that renews not just the worn cables but also the assistants’ spirits and sense of purpose.

“We are honored to host this series of Kang’s work,” says Tom Moran, chief curator at Grounds For Sculpture. “His beautiful, organic forms are in harmony with the surrounding landscape, and though he’s using industrial, nearly unwilling material, his sculptures hold grace, poise, and invoke a sense of tranquility.”

“Rebirth,” on view through May 2020, comes to Grounds For Sculpture following exhibitions in Washington, D.C. and the Garment District in New York City.

“Kang’s themes of adaptive reuse and reimagination align with our evolution from a once-abandoned fairgrounds to the Grounds For Sculpture of today,” says Gary Garrido Schneider, executive director of Grounds For Sculpture. “It also honors the long history of our region, when, nearly 200 years ago, John Roebling began making wire rope in nearby Trenton.”

Kang Muxiang visits Grounds For Sculpture on August 13, joined by Garrido Schneider and Moran for a special Art Salon including a tour of “Rebirth.” A presentation by and discussion with the artist, followed by a gourmet three-course meal, will take place at Rat’s Restaurant. Members of the public are invited, and tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit groundsforsculpture.org.