Jan-Ru Wan 萬珍如

Installation Artist & Fiber Art Educator

Taiwan - USA

Artist Statement: Materials, Body, & Culture

One’s culture is imprinted in its mind, and this imprint determines how to perceive things. Through perception, this imprint evolves in every second and every place, refining itself to produce a new experience, and ultimately a new culture. Born in Taiwan, but educated in USA, I have seen many differences between the two places in terms of art, philosophy, politics, and society, but I have also seen that the basic human desires and needs do not drastically differ. These commonalities become the foundation to build my search through my works.

From constructing garment forms to creating body sculptures, and then creating the space embracing the body, I have always dealt with the human body and its perceptions in my work. The body is born in nature and constructed by culture, the dualism of the self and the external. The constant process of reciprocal exchange between these two builds up the world. A space within and around my sculptural installation work is intended to evoke the sense of the body contained and the body projected.

By manipulating common objects I intend to recontextualize and embed them in different kinds of senses and create a new avenue. I have always emphasized on the contrast between the interior and exterior of my work: harshness vs. softness; tension vs. freedom; free floating vs. measuring; compulsive energy vs. imperturbable silence. This gives rise to the simultaneous existence of repulsion and compulsion. All contradictions melt into a new kind of balance.

The profusion of materials questions the physical and psychological relationships between the mechanical and organic, the gigantic and the miniature. Besides the aesthetic aspect of repetition, the layer upon layer of time-consuming labor also becomes a personal ritual. The multiplicity of small images, details, and objects that make up the whole reveal the individual and the universal simultaneously. Through this repetition of form and notion, the discrepancy between materials is wedded alchemically to produce a new harmony-- the balance of the chaotic, the sublime and the beautiful.