State of the Arts

S38 E6 | CLIP

Artist Kang at Grounds for Sculpture

Taiwanese artist Kang Muxiang, known for his biomorphic works made from retired elevator steel cables, at Grounds for Sculpture. State of the Arts meets the artist, and hears from curator Tom Moran about the metaphoric power of the work.

AIRED: May 30, 2020 | 0:03:23


Muxiang: [ Speaks native language ]

Translator: It resembled or symbolized

one single cable

has a limited life

or infinite universe.

Narrator: The art is always changing

at Grounds for Sculpture.

These forms are made of steel and copper cable.

Moran: They're peaceful sculptures.

They're large, and, of course, they're very physical.

They weigh tons, but there's something

very peaceful and tranquil about them.


Kang Muxiang is one of the leading sculptors from Taiwan.

He's from a family of noted wood carvers.

His studio is in Miaoli,

which is about two hours from Taipei.

It's a village that is full of wood workers

and wood working galleries.

Narrator: He was taught in a traditional style,

but Kang wanted to express his own ideas.

He first created his signature shapes

using giant trees felled by a deadly typhoon.

Now he uses recycled elevator cables

from one of the tallest green buildings in the world,

Taipei 101.

Moran: For many years, Taipei 101 was

the tallest building in the world,

and now it's, maybe, the fifth tallest,

but it's still tall,

and it still has the fastest elevators in the world,

which means that

to get people safely up and down this tower,

which is in the center of Taipei --

a very big beautiful city --

they have to maintain these cables and change them,

because it is so fast.

Narrator: In the green spirit of recycling,

the used cables were offered to Kang.

He has since made them his material of choice,

creating massive forms,

each from a single length of cable.

Muxiang: [ Speaks native language ]

Translator: I use renew cable

and things very meaningful

for the planet,

also, for the work.

I have gave them life,

and people like it.


Moran: One of the reasons why I wanted

artist Kang's sculptures here

is because 3 miles away from Grounds for Sculpture

are the Roebling's Works,

where John Roebling twisted the cable,

made the cable for so many historic bridges,

like The Brooklyn Bridge and The George Washington Bridge,

and he was German,

and the cable that Taipei 101 uses

is from Germany,

so there's a nice connection.

The cable becomes a metaphor --

one cable connecting the world.