Ju Ming (original name Ju Chuan Tai) is a Taiwanese sculptor who gained fame for his boxy bronze and steel sculptures in Taiwan in the 1970s and New York in the '80s. Often referred to as the Father of Modern Sculpture in China, he is perhaps best known for his Tai chi series, which celebrates this ancient sport in figures of often monumental size.
Ju Ming was born in 1938 in Miaoli, Taiwan. The youngest of eleven children, Ju enjoyed a rural childhood, developing a deep understanding of the rhythms and cycles of nature. After finishing his elementary school education, he studied as an apprentice under Master Chin-Chuan Lee, the Buddhist statuary craftsman, working on restorations of the Mazu temple. Ju won several awards and prizes working in the traditional Taiwanese folk art style at the Taiwan Provincial Art Exhibitions in 1966 and 1967.
Shortly thereafter, he began studying under the tutelage of Taiwan’s most eminent Modernist sculptor Yuyu Yang (1926-1997), who advised Ju Ming to develop physical and mental discipline. Ju Ming developed greatly from this practice and started thinking about sculpting works on the theme of Tai Chi. With his new mentor, Ju began working on large-scale abstract works and exploring new materials such as copper, iron, stone, stainless steel, sponge, and ceramic. Thanks to Yuyu’s support, Ming inaugurated his first solo exhibition at the National Museum of History in Taipei in 1976. It was highly successful and he was named as one of the Ten Outstanding Youths of 1976.
In the 1980s Ju continued to gain international acclaim and exhibited abroad. He started The Living World “family” series reflecting his observations of the mundane world, which he continues to expand. These bright figures are made of bronze, stainless steel, painted wood and foam rubber cast bronze giving him the freedom to depict the human form in all its varieties.
In 2007, Ju was awarded the 18th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize. The artist has held major exhibitions internationally including the Hong Kong Arts Center, Hong Kong; Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Paris, South Bank Centre, London; the Musée d'Art Contemporain, Dunkirk; Hakone Open-Air Museum, Tokyo; and La Place Vendome, Paris. Many of the artist's monumental sculptures are permanently on view at the Ju Ming Museum, spanning twelve hectares in the mountains of Chinshan, Taiwan. Prior to the transfer of Hong Kong in 1996, the Chinese government commissioned Ju Ming to create a monumental “Tai Chi” figure, Tai-Chi Single Whip for the Bank of China, in Hong Kong.
1938 Born in Tunghsiao, Miaoli County, Central Taiwan
1953 Apprenticed to Master Chin-Chuan Lee for the traditional period of three years and four months
1957 Started working as a “master craftsman”
1959 Moved back to Tunghsiao and opened his own studio with apprentices, creating a successful crafts business
1961 Married Chen Fu-mei, who is also from Tungshiao
1968 After winning several awards in the prestigious Taiwan Provincial Art Exhibition, Ju re-apprenticed himself, this time to Yang Yu-Yu for a total of seven years
1976 Solo exhibition at the National Museum of history in Taipei; named one of the Ten Outstanding Youths of 1976.
1980 Began the Living World series
1987 Retrospective of Ju’s work at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, followed by an exhibition at the Taiwan Art Museum, Taichung
1988-1991 Several exhibitions in Taipei and at the Hong Kong Arts Center and Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong, followed by Ju’s first European exhibition in London
1995 Hanoke Open-Air Museum invites Ju Ming to exhibit his works to close the Museum’s yearlong twenty-fifth-anniversary celebration
1997 Place Vendôme, Paris, Tai Chi series
1999 Taiwan Museum of Art, Taiwan
1999 The opening show of Ju Ming, Art Museum, Taiwan
2000 Asia Art Center, Taiwan
2003 Conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Art, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei, Taiwan
2004 Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu, Japan
Singapore Art Museum, Singapore2006 Skirt Story, Time Square, Hong Kong