'Wallace Chan- 'Titans - A Dialogue between Materials, Space & Time'
Curated by James Putnam
February 14th- April 8th, 2022
Canary Wharf, One Canada Square, London E14 5AB
Wallace Chan exhibits 10 of his large-scale titanium and iron sculptures at the vast lobby of One Canada Square, Canary Wharf as part of their ongoing public sculpture programme. The exhibition explores Chan’s contemplation on the relationship between materials, space and time through titanium: a futuristic, space-age material that has long been the subject of his experimental impulses. The russet, oxidised iron contrasts the
titanium’s polished silver surface and both materials evoke the passage of time; iron will eventually rust away while titanium can last for eternity. On display are new works: TITANS XIV, TITANS XV and TITANS XVI. The central motif of many of these majestic, semi-figurative sculptures is a colossal head whose facial features are serene yet strong, with a peaceful aura reminiscent of a deity statue. The head is often distorted and elongated, almost anamorphic, simultaneously ancient and somewhat extraterrestrial. One of the new works, TITANS XIV, is a 5 metre high monolithic sculpture and will be situated at the fountain in Cabot Square, in the foreground of Canary Wharf’s iconic building alongside the work of renowned sculptors Henry Moore and Lynn Chadwick. The verticality of the sculpture’s elongated multi-tiered silver face creates a fitting dialogue with the 50 story steel clad skyscraper that rises behind it on the London skyline. By juxtaposing two very different sculptural materials, Chan evokes a sense of duality, where the lightness and durability of titanium is contrasted with iron’s weightiness and susceptibility to corrosion. Whatever his medium, Chan is continuously driven by a fascination with materials and a desire to push them beyond their limits. Titanium, named after the immortal ‘Titans’ in Greek mythology, is the strongest, most durable and lightweight metal. Mainly used in the aerospace industry, titanium has been overlooked by artists due to its cost and complex production process. After many years of careful research and experimentation, Chan developed a method of working with titanium initially for his jewellery and more recently for his large-scale sculptures. He employs a range of sculpture techniques: from modelling and casting to carving, welding and assembling, Chan creates titanium sculptures that are very rarely seen on this scale.