This Artist Carves Wood Sculptures That Give The Illusion There Are Figures Trapped Inside

Taiwanese artist Tung Ming-Chin plays with themes of inner emotions and the subconscious mind through his masterful woodwork projects. In his works, the artist depicts objects and figures attempting to break-free, trapped by the wood he has carved them into, to manifest the idea of a psychological prison.

The artist has created an impressive collection of psychologically thematic works. In 2013, he created Breath which is a metaphor for “the transformation of a physical space into an inner psychological space affected by vision.” Set in boxes, wooden humps protrude at the top while below, a single limb pops out allowing just enough mystery for the viewer to find their own interpretation.

Ming-Chin utilizes jade cong and jade bi forms which symbolize 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 writes. “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.”

Tung was born in Changhua, Taiwan, and received both his BFA and MFA from Taipei National University of the Arts.

“Inner Turmoil”

Image credits: tcaaarchive

The work “Inner Turmoil” use the figure of a person who is stretch himself and resists restrict of gravity, which forms the contrast. The body and carved space give people a complex sense. Owing to the space, we can explore a state of inner mind that is upset. When a positive idea and a negative idea are formed at the same time, people will feel there is a strong strength affects them.

“The Birth of a New Hero”

Image credits: tcaaarchive

Metaphor is an interpretation of the inner space and an expression of imagination. It can not be easily classified as a state of mind with shapes, like feelings, the poetic, time, the conceptual, and the non-visual. It is free imagination which releases the consciousness and explores the world of sub-consciousness.

Image credits: tcaaarchive

“Breath”

Image credits: tcaaarchive

It discusses the transformation of a physical space into an inner psychological space affected by vision. The features vaguely reveal the clue of inner shape, and further lead imagination of the views towards the inner space.

Image credits: tcaaarchive

Image credits: tcaaarchive

“A Stack of Heads”

Image credits: tcaaarchive

Metaphor is an interpretation of the inner space and an expression of imagination. It can not be easily classified as a state of mind with shapes, like feelings, the poetic, time, the conceptual, and the non-visual. It is free imagination which releases the consciousness and explores the world of sub-consciousness. It is a specific state concealing under a hidden space.

“New Lonely”

Image credits: tcaaarchive

In this work, perfection is symbolized through the sculpture’s round shape. Because there are bulges on the ball, one can only roughly see that there are two human figures inside. It is not clear whether they embrace or push away one another. One can only imagine, not decipher, what goes on inside the ball.

Image credits: tcaaarchive

“Self-Portrait”

Image credits: tcaaarchive

The self-portrait is a good way of articulating the inner self, as it allows the author to express poetic feelings, non-visual concepts or inexplicable state of mind using coded metaphors, and in so doing to liberated imagination and the unconscious mind from logic and reason. Through the facial expression and hand gesture depicted by the self-portrait, one can detect the hidden metaphors and unearth the psychological state of mind of the author.

Image credits: tcaaarchive

Image credits: tcaaarchive

“Changes Inside the Forest”

Image credits: tcaaarchive

The forest is a symbol of society, from the various vicissitudes within the work, the form of the forest appears, its contents coming together in a whole, complete form. With the details concealed with, we can explore the inside of this piece by looking at its exterior and imaging the interior. In a reversal of the way we usually view things, we may unearth further subtleties within.

“Between Round and Square: Past, Present, and Future”

Image credits: tcaaarchive

This time, I use wood material for my artwork, in light of the fact that the growth of trees easily takes ten, hundred, or thousands of years and the wood grain assuredly recorded the climate changes in the past. This process of co-growth between trees and the world perfectly matches with my own creative concept. The work is presented in the prismatic form; the appearance of the object demonstrates the passing of time. The bottom of the pillar lays the ancient jade cong and the plastic bottle sits on the top.

Image credits: tcaaarchive

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.

“Leather Concept – Character”

Image credits: tcaaarchive

In the artist’s work, the world is not just a place outside of one’s body, but rather a continuation of one’s flesh. By using the body, by using manual labor and thought; the artist proposes a knowledge system of how to see the world. The purpose is not to display the conflict of the superficial and internal, rather, the freedom of going back and forth between the two.

People find the sculptures beautiful and thought-provoking

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