David Han

These sculptures represent a fantastic species featuring a mechanical skeleton and a dragon-like appearance. They are all part of my CAST Series and are meant to embody the essence of an imperishable spirit.

Brought up in China in a family of artists and engineers, I started taking academic drawing lessons as a child. After immigrating to the U.S., I worked as an industrial designer. As a result of my exposure to Western culture and the enduring influence on me of the Asian tradition, I worked out the model for the first sculpture in this series. Its mystical silhouette recalls the dragon gargoyle I saw many years ago in Beijing’s Temple of Heaven, while its mechanical body references the customized motorcycles and World War II fighter aircrafts of days gone by. For me, this creature lives. Its ancestors originated among machines endowed with artificial intelligence. Brought to life, they went though a long period of rebellion, conflict, death and rebirth. Now, after thousands of generations, this creature still dwells among us. What I capture in my sculptures is the moment when, from a distant future, it looks back on all that has gone before.

I try to utilize recycled metal in my work as much as possible, starting with pieces of 16-gauge soft iron that may have nicks and scratches but retains its strength and integrity. To express the dual characteristics of mechanical form and evolved biological intelligence. I create the main body by rendering the metal into a aerial dynamic tear drop shape that resembles both a motorcycle tank and a dinosaur’s chest. On this base other parts are built up through a combination of planes and curved surfaces whose arrangement gives, at first, an impression of skeletal coolness but which, on further inspection, conveys fevered passion with a touch of tenderness. The creature’s wings are made of thin strips of metal welded into an interlaced pattern suggesting a bird’s layered feathers. Each of these parts remains detachable, but when they are assembled a creature emerges belonging to another time. From within echoes forth the spirit of an ancient soul, striving for nothing since so much has already been experienced.

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