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Press Release

"Landscape on the Shelf - Exhibit by Chen Lung-Bin" American Cultural Center January 7 - March 28, 2000

PR0001E | Date: 2000-01-07

The American Cultural Center lobby will showcase the small-scale art exhibition "Landscape on the Shelf -- Exhibit by Chen Lung-bin," January 7 - March 28, 2000.

The American Cultural Center is open to the public 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon - 6:00 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sundays and holidays. The American Cultural Center is located at 54 Nan Hai Road, Taipei.

In the exhibit "Landscape on the Shelf," Chen Lung-bin will present six installations that feature human figures sculpted on piles of books.

The artist explains his choice of materials and interpretation as follows: The information explosion is a phenomenon of the new millennium. The never-ending emergence of new printed materials is too much for people to read. The products of technology and civilization become a new source of environmental pollution, and "junk" publications have become a burden of modern life. As a student in New York, Chen Lung-bin collected used books from the city recycling system and used them in his sculptures. Thus, he both creates art and protects the environment. However, Chen also destroys the information content of the publications, because the books that enter his studio encounter the ruthless force of his art.

Destroying books and reconstructing the significance of the book as an artwork might be seen as Chen's way of dealing with his anxiety about the problems of modern culture. In the cyber-world of the 21st century, the definition of knowledge and the value of publications will have to be redefined and reinterpreted. Virtual reality and reality have become difficult to separate. Books, knowledge, and information also become difficult to define after the artist manipulates the materials. Thus, Chen's book sculptures disclose the power of knowledge and its destructiveness, as well as the memory of human history and the artist's challenge to our culture.

The unique element of Chen's sculpture is his materials. His book sculptures may look like they are made of strong wood or marble, but actually the body is formed by soft pages. The characteristics resembling wood or marble are created from the printing in the sculpted books. Although they are similar to traditional woodcarving, these works surprise the viewer's visual and tactile senses. While the content of the books provides the relationship between the sculpture and its medium, it also indicates other meanings and ironies. "Landscape on the Shelf" offers an alternative way of reading and pondering.

Chen Lung-bin graduated from Tong Hai University and received his Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York. The book sculptures he has developed since 1993 have been widely recognized for their originality. The main themes of this sculpture series are human figures, words, land, and tools. "Landscape on the Shelf" continues to explore the dialogue between art and society. Art is meant to reflect its time, and Chen's works reveal multiple cultural phenomena at the turn of the century.