at The National Taipei University
of Education (NTUE) in Taiwan
My sculpture project in the courtyard of the NTUE Art Department in Taipei
Documentation of my art residency in the courtyard of the Art Department at the National Taipei University of Education (NTUE) in Taiwan. Over the three weeks of working on this project, I assembled and installed a 2.7m high steel sculpture. While doing this, I also worked with a group of students from the University to share with them my skills and techniques and support them in learning and exploring different methods.
We started with choosing the place in the courtyard. While this sounds like an easy task, choosing the placement of the sculpture is a crucial decision, as it will determine how people will perceive it from the very first glance. It takes some skills to grasp the space and pinpoint where the audience will be arriving at the site; the way the structure and composition of the elements are presented in the area has an immense influence on the spectator’s experience. To be able to understand this, I took hundreds of pictures imagining how the sculpture would look and how it would affect the surroundings. I was also observing the game of light and shadow throughout the day and night.
I had prepared the whole project, including unfolding the shape and arranging the plane surfaces to be cut with laser in steel sheets before arriving to Taiwan. That way I could start the difficult part a few days after arriving in Asia. For this project I was using an arch welder and an angle grinder to adjust and smooth out the joint elements.
The whole process was divided into three stages. First, I created the upper part of the design, then followed with the middle part, which allowed me to incorporate the construction elements, making the shape resistant to the weight it would be carrying.
Then, I continued with the lower parts that would be underground, making sure that the structure inside is strong and connected in many support points. The whole shape was created from around ninety pieces of steel, attached one by one with a welding machine.
At the very end I transported the sculpture to the final destination. I added the underground anchorage, painted the whole object inside and outside with a base colour, which protects it against weather conditions, especially humidity. After that I raised the sculpture to a standing position, securing it in the ground with long steel bars through the X and Y, and painted it with a layer of the final white colour.
The “Tower” sculpture stands in the courtyard until today. It does give off a calming feeling of a zen garden and allows people to contemplate and disconnect, completely isolated from the busy streets of the metropolis. There were some plans to expand the idea and add more objects in a cycle of art residencies over the upcoming years, but they've been on hold since the pandemic. Fingers crossed this project will be resurrected in the future as the place is absolutely magic. It does give off a calming feeling of a zen garden and allows the people to contemplate and disconnect, completely isolated from the busy streets of the metropolis.