Taiwanese artist Li Chen’s Buddhist and Daoist-inspired sculptures

With its roots in eastern philosophy and consciousness, Li Chen’s works dwell on existence and character.

Inspired by the Mahakala image commonly seen in Tantrism–a movement within Hinduism combining magical and mystical elements and with sacred writings of its own–this twelve-armed fertile looking figure stretches out like a butterfly. Instead of holding religious instruments and expressing hand gestures like the original Mahakala, this sculpture’s hand gestures are expressive of laughter, anger, curses, and blessing.


Butterfly Kingdom

This sculpture of an arrogant toddler sucking on a pacifier symbolizes adults’s persistent needs and greed. When one grows up, it doesn’t mean that their childhood need to be taken care of dissipates.



Perhaps my favorite among Li Chen’s works. The face of the sculpture is replaced by a mirror, stripping it of its own appearance so that the viewers can see themselves in the sculpture. The sculpture is surrounded by mirrors, creating an infinity mirror which aggravates the eeriness of this room.


In Multitude I and Multitude II, Li Chen gathers miniature figures in a transparent enclosure for viewing. These figures embody daily life and human interactions.


Multitude I


Multitude II

For some reason, I found it hard to pass through this hallway since it’s dark and a bit claustrophobic.


Two horizontal structures that look like a western obelisk and a Chinese pagoda are suspended midair. Their pointy ends directed towards each other, resulting in a state of aggression and at the same time, balance.


Innerve – Artificial Heavens

This sculpture is inspired by the artist’s son when he just learned how to walk. Notice how the artist was able to capture the innocence found in children who just learned how to do something for the first time.


Spirited (1990)

Curated by Wu Hong-Liang, Li Chen’s solo exhibition Being : In / Voluntary Drift runs from 1 July to 27 August at Museum of Contemporary Arts (MOCA) in Taipei.




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