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SMALL TALK WITH ZI WONG WANG BY TIMEOUT SHANGHAI

SEPTEMBER 2014, SHANGHAI

SMALL TALK WITH ZI WONG WANG BY TIMEOUT SHANGHAI

Innovative Korean artist Wang Ziwon creates beautiful sculptures with mechanical moving parts. Ahead of his exhibition, ‘The Essence of I”, at LWH Gallery this month, he tells TimeOut about the inspiration behind his work.

 

Where does your interest in robotics stem from?

Since I was a child, I was interested in robots. I was fascinated by their versatility. When I was 20 years old, I had a car accident. Since then, I began to explore and research the enhancement and perhaps even the transformation of the human body.

 

Buddhist forms are common in your pieces, why is this?

I do not consciously choose to create works that use Buddhist iconography. Rather, the inspiration from my works stems from the ‘transcendence of existence from science’, exploring the possibility of breaking free from the limitation of the human body with robotics. In that sense perhaps, we share a common question on how man could break free from his physical limitations.

 

How do you choose the scale of your work?

The scale varies. They range from larger-than-life size works to small works that are about a cubic feet. The sizes of each series of artworks are dictated by my inspiration or the concept of the artwork.

 

What themes are you exploring through your art?

We are now seeing the integration of mechanics with the human body, the interference of science in transforming the body. We are now embarking on the first step of the ‘Post-Human’ era. I try to look beyond where we are at now and explore the possibilities. What are the issues? What are the impacts? What will we become? Who are we?

 

Do you believe technology can be a vehicle for spirituality?

Technology has transformed the transportation of information, including discourse on spirituality, however I do not see the body and its spirit as two separate entities. The integration of science and the human body has certainly spurred people to think about the interference of science on spirituality.

 

The facial features on your pieces are unmoving and less detailed than real faces – why is this?

The faces on many of the artworks that I have created are inspired by Buddhist art, which I find to be calming and meditative. The faces are simple as they serve a symbolic purpose. From the many exhibitions and countries that I have shown my works in, I’ve discovered that different people react differently to my artwork and that is good as it spurs discussion.

 

Do you see a positive future as man and technology become more closely entwined?

The integration of man and science is inevitable and in the short term, I think the future looks good. The limitations of the human body will be broken. The ‘space’ which we could explore and create will be extended tremendously. History has shown that sometimes man and society are not able to manage the tools that he possesses. Unfortunately, sometimes he abuses it. But then time and time again we have also learned and evolved. As such, I am hopeful of a positive future.