Taiwanese Artist : Kan Tan

December 6, 2018, 11:31 am

Kan Tan

We met the Taiwanese artist Kan Tan around a Hot Pot in Beijing. He surprised us several time in his studio, offering us sometimes goat cheese or Belgium chocolate, products we were unable to find in China for 9 months !

Kan Tan was born in 1963 in Taiwan. He studied western painting and sculpture. He became especially talented in sculpture field as one of the most proud disciples of the famous sculptor Zhu Ming.

Gandan grew up in Yingge Town, a major ceramic town in Taiwan. He and his brother spent all day playing in ceramic factories.

"I really want to return to my childhood days of joy and curiosity," he said. “My imagination and feelings are fully nourished. In my memory, there is no boredom in school. In fact, there are always miracles, unexpected landscapes and magical moments”

In his wood or stone carvings, Kan Tan’s willingness is to capture the magic nature. The power of the wind, the graceful of one current. Each piece of wood becomes one element of curiosity, in which he lets his inspiration expresses.

But his sculptures are not only grace and inspiration, we can see that many mathematical principles such as geometry, polyhedron are present in his carvings. Mathematical algorithm can make the sculpture structure balanced and exquisite.

迎风 (33*25*23)


迎风之五 (48*15*15)


Kan Tan can recognize all the flowers, trees, insects and animals in the mountains. He not only remembers their appearance, but also names them. Later, he engaged in sculpture. The trees in his memory became square wood. He would be curious to find the original appearance of the materials. "What kind of wood is this door made of, and what was it like when it was a tree?" He seems to have to know, otherwise he will always feel disrespectful of it. "

To respect also the history of the tree, Kan Tan reproduced in some sculpture the fall of one leaf, with different woods. His works were a subtle way to remind the previous life of each tree.

Fall from a tree 2 (78*18*19)


In some other works, he created two pieces of wood carving from the same piece of wood. As his previous works every sculpture is improvised, so every work is unique.

His idea is to create a vulnerability between the two parts. Then, during installation, the two elements can be separated or integrated.




In another thematic, Kan Tan created small sculptures inspired from Shan Hai Jing Legends. Shan Hai Jing is an ancient book describing ancient bizarre thoughts in China. It was written by Chu or Bashu people from the middle and late Warring States Period to the early and middle Han Dynasty. In those stories, abnormal animals or deformed gods are described. All these legends have a strong influence on Chinese culture. Kan Tan decided to integrate these cultural legends in his artworks to give them a second life. But the sculptures are not magnified as traditional sculptures, they became more graphic and comic, on the scope of our modern universe.


Symbiotic soil (17,5*21*12)


1963    Born in Taiwan

1982    Apprentice to the famous sculptor “Ju Ming”


Solo Exhibitions

1997    Sculptor of International Outdoor Stone Sculpture Camp, Hualien, Taiwan

             Solo exhibition Hans art Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan - a series of Wind (2)

            Solo exhibition Capital Art Center, Taichun, Taiwan - a series of Wind (2)

1994    Solo exhibition Hans art Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan - a series of Wind (1)

             Solo exhibition Capital Art Center, Taichun, Taiwan - a series of Wind (1)

1988    Individual Oil Exhibition, American Cultural Center, Taipei, Taiwan


Collective Exhibitions

2017    Shaanxi Suide international stone carving Festival          

2015    Hunan Changsha Ocean Lake stone carving Festival       

2013    China Sculpture Yearbook exhibition Beijing National Grand Theatre          

             Contemporary Chinese abstract sculpture exhibition Hubei Art Museum     

2012    Taiwan contemporary sculpture exhibition Yitong park space           

2011    Hualian international stone carving Exhibition           

2008    Taipei Gallery Exposition (The National Gallery's collection of stone carvings)

2006    I-Shou University International Stone Sculpture Symposium, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

            The Public art at Penchu District Prosecutors Office – Sea Wind

1996    Invited to The Biennial Exhibition at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan


Prizes Awarded

2007    Scupture Awarded for the Public art at The Experimental Elementarily School for the National Hualien University of Education

             Invited to the International Sculpture Camp in France and Turkey

1995    Won Jury Award in the International Stone Sculpture Symposium, Hualien, Taiwan

1998    The 1st Dong Hua Rotary Fine Art Award,3-D category, Taiwan

             The 3th International Sculpture Camp in Guilin, Guangxi, China

1999    The 1st Award of the 3rd International Sculpture Camp, La Norma, France

2000    Awarded the Asian Sculptor of Contemporary Forest Sculpture Camp, Normandy Lille,          France

2002    The 5th International Sculpture Camp, Verona, Italy

2003    The 1st Award of Grant Prize,5` Symposium International, France