Hou Lien-Chin


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Object Detail

marble, granite, gold leaf
8 x 13 x 13 cm
Hou Lien-Chin was intrigued by the challenge of stone-carving from the first time, as a second-year sculpture student, he used power tools to cut into a block of marble. Despite the demands and difficulties of the technique, he was determined to persevere, taking every opportunity to learn from older students as well as his teachers, and taking up a vacation job with another sculptor who shared his expertise with the younger student. It was a long apprenticeship, with echoes of the Renaissance tradition of young artists learning from a master; working with marble has now become second nature. Often using white marble, Hou has specialised in seductive, undulating curving forms that reference the natural world and marine life. He believes that the curve is a ‘language’ common to different species: ‘A curve could be an animal, could be human, could be waves or plants.’
'Hunger' extends the theme in a nightmarishly surreal way; the work is part of a continuing series of unexpected treatments of banal everyday objects. A tiny bowl of pinkish orange marble at first appears quite ordinary, until you notice that the rim of the bowl consists of carefully carved, realistic teeth, one tooth covered with gold leaf. Hou Lien-Chin chose the warm colour of the marble to resemble flesh. The work emerged from his constant preoccupation with survival, but also reflected his observations of other people eating, and how their behaviours revealed their personalities. In a digital age of immediately available imagery and instant manipulation, some artists still immerse themselves in the physicality of age-old artistic practices, their work determined by their engagement with their materials. Hou Lien-Chin is one such artist; his arduous work with slabs of granite and blocks of striated marble is a search for perfection of form and surface, the truth hidden within the stone.
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