Discarded publications take on a whole new life in Long-Bin Chen’s book sculptures. Using printed matter – “cultural debris from our information society,” as the artist describes it – Chen creates life-like representations of icons from East and West. Buddhas, Greek philosophers and intellectuals, all sculpted from abandoned works of literature, magazines or phone directories.
Chen was born in Taipei and studied his BFA at Tung Hai University before later moving to New York to complete an MFA at the School of Visual Arts. Since his first solo show in 1992, Chen has exhibited widely in Taiwan, USA and Europe. Twice awarded a Taiwan National Endowment for Arts, he has also won a Visitors’ Prize at the 6th Triennial for Small-Scale Sculpture in Stuttgart, Germany (1995) and the Silver Prize for sculpture at the Osaka Triennial, Japan (1998). In 2013 he created a large-scale installation for the Addlestone Library in Charleston, USA.
From a distance, Chen’s skilful pieces appear to be made of wood or stone; it is only upon closer examination that their waste-paper souls become apparent. Eloquent commentaries on consumption and waste, these sculptures also reflect on the pre-digital age, cultural borrowing and the abiding significance of text.