Joyce Tan susses up with sculptor Victor Tan who tells her how he sculpts his feelings and thoughts with…wire.

Singapore sculptor Victor Tan Wee Tar believes he has found the right medium to work with – wire.

Since discovering wire as a medium to present his sculptures, Victor remained steadfast to his discovery. Every day, he painstakingly twists and bends metal wires to create intriguing figures that reflect his innermost feelings and thoughts despite being visually handicapped.

Along with an acute sense of touch, Victor is able to craft sculptures of sorts that when viewed from an angle, appears two-dimensional – like an abstract line drawing on the wall.

Says Victor: “My sculptures are about being on a journey. Whether you are standing, sitting or lying down, the journey continues. In this journey, I hope I can touch the hearts and influence the minds of fellow passengers,

“If I can, in some way, alleviate human sufferings through art that would make my journey worthy.” He adds.

While Victor’s goal in life is to create iconic sculptures that serve to remind us how we should live our lives to the best, he does not deny that people are sceptical of his intentions. Nevertheless, Victor is not deterred; he gives his very best in every sculpture he makes.

In his most recent exhibition held at Sculpture Square, Victor takes along with him 19 of his most intriguing sculptures for public display. Entitled INSIGHT, this art exhibition is held in conjunction with LaSalle College of the Arts graduating Arts Management students. What’s more, patrons to the exhibition are allowed to touch the sculptures to feel Victor’s thoughts.

Insights by Victor Tan
Victor Tan together with guests at the opening ceremony of iAM 2012.

Insignt by Victor Tan
This freestyle wire sculpture by Victor Tan captures imagination.

Q1: You are one of Singapore’s sculptors to explore the use of wire. Can you share with Artitute how did you discover wire sculpting and what inspired you to create sculptures from wire?

Victor Tan: It all started when I was in La Salle; my lecturer was giving a lecture on live drawing using the conventional method of paper and pencil and I had a tough time trying to catch up. So I went to see the Dean, because I had thought of annulling my course. However, after a detailed discussion he suggested me to tryout different mediums, from clay to sand, to produce my sketches – that was how I discovered wire as a medium to sketch!

Q2: Creating a ceramic sculpture is tough work, let alone using wire. How much time to you dedicate to wire sculpting and how long does it take for you to complete a sculpture?

Victor Tan: Well, that really depends on the sculpture size; some sculptures can take months to complete while others require a shorter duration of, say, two to three days.

A live size wire sculpture would take me about one month to complete.

Q3: Can you share with Artitute how you go about creating your sculptures?

Victor Tan: There are many ways how I would go about creating my sculptures. Let’s take for instance a human figure; I would always begin with the head before going down to the body, arms and legs. All human forms have a basic shape, it is important to understand them and breakdown all these forms into shapes – circle, cone, cylinder, and cube – to enable me to create my sculptures.

But that’s not enough; you also need to be able to measure the size of your sculpture. I use my body as a measuring tool to measure the placement of your ribs, arms and legs, as well as sculpture size. I’ve learnt that you can measure the size of your figures from live drawing classes; whenever a student needs to measure a model from a distance, he or she places the thumb on a pencil and takes that as the model’s head, which acts as a guide to measure the length of the model before sketching.

Now, how do I build up the sculpture’s form? Like a piece of drawing, I add on more wires to its form to express my innermost feelings.

Q4: Apart from feelings and thoughts, what are your sources of inspiration?

Victor Tan: Apart from my feelings and thoughts, I derive my inspiration from the passion I have for my art.

Q5: Most artists – sculptors, painters and even musicians – draw their inspirations from one another. Who do you look up to for ideas and inspiration?

Victor Tan: These are the people I look up to for inspiration: the industrial sculptor Constatin Brancusi and former Principal of La Salle College of the Arts Brother Joseph McNally.

Q6: How do you hope to achieve your goal of alleviating human pain and suffering through sculpting?

Victor Tan: First and foremost that’s a ‘hope’, a something which I want to achieve, but may not realise this dream of achieving it. Sculptures are important, because it brings an individual to the present moment, at the same time, heightens their level of consciousness. The end result is that the individual is aware of what’s happening around them so they can do something that would benefit the needy. A sculpture – like painting – is able to activate one’s consciousness and may be beneficial to the individual and his community.

Q7: After INSIGHT, where and when will your next exhibition be?

Victor Tan: Currently, I’m working on a proposal for several commissioned works and have no plans for any exhibitions. I’ll leave it to time to decide when my next exhibition will be.

Q8: Any parting words for our readers?

Victor Tan: If there’s something you are yearning to do, just go ahead and do it. Why I’m saying this is because you may not even have the chance in the future to do it again.

For those who do not know what they want (in life), they should continue searching for it.