“Wood, much like clay, tells many stories, like an ancient footprint.”

Born 1953, Pingtung, Taiwan

When Ah Leon discovered Yixing pottery, he dropped his painter’s brush forever.  The more he learned of China’s 500-year-old teapot-making tradition, the more deeply it impressed him.  On a visit to the United States, his mastery of this ancient art came face to face with the inventive freedom of Western ceramists.  Ah Leon decided to embrace both, and the results were spectacular: his teapots evolved and mutated until they were not so much teapots as, in the artist’s words, “sculpture with teapot features”. Having taken tea ware to its limit, he began making pure sculptures in which unglazed pottery is almost indistinguishable from aged wood.  The desk and chair in Memories of Elementary School (2010) are a memorial to Ah Leon’s youth. Old and run-down like his body and those of his friends, they still evoke the playful innocence of those long-ago days. “I think the best time, the happiest time in our lives was in elementary school,” the artist says. “We had no responsibilities; it was like heaven.”

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