International artist Li-Jen Shih, author of King Kong Rhino – contemporary tribute to Albrecht Dürer’ rhino, has been a guest of pba’s
King Kong Rhino, a symbol of power and justice, is made of stainless steel in order to reflect the daily changes in the sky and its own environment. For his masterpiece, the artist Li-Jen Shih wanted to transform the rhino, a majestic creature symbol of luck and kindness in Chinese culture for centuries, into a contemporary art piece, a heroic and modern icon of the “true survivor”.
«The rhino has always been a creature close to me. It was with great pain that I followed its uncertain situation in the world and for this reason I decided to create an artwork celebrating its beauty and raising awareness about the risks of extinction for the rhinos – stated Li-Jen Shih –. On a spiritual level, my sculpture embodies many of the philosophies rooted in ancient Chinese culture, whereas for style and expression, it is contemporary».
The rhino stainless steel sculpture, with its armor, releases a strong feeling of endurance. A human finger print is embedded in the horn to represent the predatory action of man and it is a reminder of how important it is to respect all animal species on Earth. King Kong Rhino was selected to represent the annual theme at the Shanghai Art Fair in 2011 and was placed in the Kelti International Co square in Taipei.
Li-Jen Shih was born in Changhua County, Taiwan, in 1955 and started his career in China and Taiwan. He got interested in the rhino and its powerful symbolism by working on several series of sculpture including the most famous and representative of his artwork: King Kong Rhino. Li-Jen Shih is very connected to tradition, he uses a contemporary language to unveil an ancient subject of this tradition. His rhino sculptures find their place in the centers of the most important cities in China, Taipei, Taichung and in the south of Taiwan, Beijing, Shanghai and in Shandong. Everyone, including children, love so much to gather around Li-Jen Shih rhinos that they give him the nickname of The Rhino Papa, the rhino artist.