Local artist donates work to celebrate German city
A Taiwanese artist donated his latest work made from discarded steel cables to Karlsruhe as a gift to the German city that is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year.
Speaking about his work “Taiwan Wishful” at a news conference Tuesday, sculptor Kang Mu-xiang said he was pleased to play a part in promoting cultural diplomacy.
The sculpture, which Kang said took about six months to complete, was made from discarded steel cables from Taipei 101’s elevators.
In addition to offering birthday wishes to Karlsruhe, Kang said he wanted to use the project to convey the concept of the power of unity, symbolized by the cables closely bound together in his artwork.
Asked about the difficulties he faced in putting the work together, the 55-year-old said “every step in the project was a challenge.”
He said he first had to clean the cables and suffered several minor burns while welding the steel cables to mold them into the shape he desired.
“It was probably the most difficult project I’ve ever worked on,” said Kang, a sculptor whose preferred material to work with during much of his career was driftwood before experimenting more recently with steel cables.
“Taiwan Wishful,” 3 meters tall and weighing 3 tons, is Kang’s second creation made from the discarded elevator cables from Taipei 101, following the work “Infinite Life,” which has been in- stalled outside Taipei 101.
Kang started to work on “Taiwan Wishful” after Vice Foreign Minister Vanessa Shih contacted him and invited him to create something that could serve as a gift from Taiwan to mark Karlsruhe’s anniversary and promote ties between Taiwan and Germany.
She learned of the city’s anniversary celebration when she was on a business trip to Germany last year and thought it would be a good opportunity to promote Taiwan’s soft power by playing a part in the celebrations, Shih said at the news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei.
“Kang’s project will be placed at a plaza in the center of Karlsruhe,” Shih said, adding that the plaza is located in a busy part of the city.
Also at the news conference was Martin Eberts, director general of the German Institute in Taipei, which represents Germany’s interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic ties.
Eberts expressed his gratitude for the donation and lauded the close ties between Taiwan and Germany.
Kang will travel to Karlsruhe to attend the ceremony on Aug. 21 at which his work will be unveiled and participate in activities later in Berlin to promote cultural exchanges, the ministry said.
Karlsruhe, a city in southern Germany, is the seat of the country’s two highest courts: the Federal Court of Justice and the Federal Constitutional Court.