David Ruben Piqtoukun and Yeon-Tak Chang at the Canadian Sculpture Centre

Harmony Between Man & Nature / David Ruben Piqtoukun and Yeon-Tak Chang at the Canadian Sculpture Centre

These two artists, who are good friends, spent two years planning this joint exhibition and chose harmony as its central theme as they both deeply believe that man and nature are interconnected.

David Ruben Piqtoukun (left) and Yeon-Tak Chang (right) at the Opening Reception of their exhibition in Sculpture Gallery on October 16, 2021

David Ruben Piqtoukun combines traditional Inuit art and abstract elements in his artwork. As he said in a documentary video (Color and Vision) he collects a lot of stories from the Inuit people and tells them in his own way. He feels he is gifted in the way he sees things other people might not necessarily see.

David Ruben Piqtoukun, Owl Transformation with Guide, Brazilian soapstone, red pipestone, black pearl stone

In his Artist Statement he wrote that “early recollections of living in a nomadic and semi-primitive existence have instilled within me a deep and lasting love for the raw and rugged beauty of land and nature, which is often reflected in my work.

As my parents insisted: ‘Be honest, be careful, be the best you can; never give up at whatever you attempt, but most important, call home once in a while, David’. My work continues to call home.”

Installation view with David Ruben Piqtoukun, Raven Steals the Moon, Brazilian soapstone, steel base

Fresh Water Spirit, depicts a spirit who engages people who have drowned in fresh waters. It becomes a spirit-helper for all those people and restores life to them in the Spirit World.

David Ruben Piqtoukun, Fresh Water Spirit, Brazilian soapstone, black pearl stone

In his work he constantly travels between two worlds – the real and the spirit ones – searching for harmony.

Yeon-Tak Chang is also on a spiritual journey, however different it is, as he says the rhythms and patterns created through the process of carving symbolize a timeless space and energy. 

Installation view with Yeon-Tak Chang, Harmony, Carrara marble

In the Spring of 1996, Chang wrote, “How can I express the many mysterious harmonies occurring in nature, reflecting the relationship between nature and myself. Nature makes me realize the meaning of my existence and offers me the wings of my dream to fly; it opens the gate to an unknown world” and concluded, “I cannot know the result. Will it be possible to express my feelings? But my endless inner pursuits of myself drive me toward uncertainty…”

Yeon-Tak Chang, Nebula, black Belgium marble

What is really the difference between certainty and uncertainty? It sounds like a philosophical question that is almost impossible to answer. Impossible until it comes to sculpture. Sculpture is always real in some aspect, as it appears in stone or wood – something you can touch. But never forget that you might not be able to fully decipher the meaning that hides in it, the mysteries it enraptures.

Yeon-Tak Chang, Elapse, maple wood (left) & Origin, willow wood (right)

This exhibition teaches us again that every sculpture is Janus-faced: the surface you can see and the meaning behind it you only can guess. That’s were the mysteries begin.

Images are courtesy of Sculpture Gallery.

*Exhibition info: Harmony Between Man & Nature / David Ruben Piqtoukun and Yeon-Tak Chang, October 16 – November 28, 2021, Canadian Sculpture Centre, 19 Mill Street, Distillery District. Gallery hours: Mon – Sat, 11 am – 6 pm; Sun, 12 – 5 pm.

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