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Tim Budden’s Cutting-Edge Lattices ​

A Creative Soup

Imagine a soup of East Asian folk culture, a Wales upbringing, creativity, paper-cutting (中國剪紙) skills, and a background in sculpting: Tim Budden began cooking that soup in 1990 when he first arrived in Taiwan. He has since held multiple exhibitions around the world and has been asked to create art for various clients, including Milk X Chanel, Taiwan Mobile, and Fubon Art.

From his soup of cultures and different skills, Tim creates paper lattices, inspired by Chinese and Taiwanese paper cutting craft (中國剪紙). It is considered folk art due to its easy accessibility to people when most art, media like painting or sculpting, was a luxury and only available to those who could afford to take time out of their days or spend money on materials. Fluxus, taken from the Chinese 流轉 恆變, translates to “flowing” in Latin, and encompasses the meaning of the exhibition: the idea that time is circular, forever evolving and flowing.

Tim’s Enso Series

Many of the pieces displayed in the exhibition are part of Tim’s Enso series. These are circular pieces of paper suspended in the air. From afar, the group of circular lattices seem to float together as a group. From different perspectives, the 3D figures change shape and intertwine to form different shapes and patterns. The use of lighting assists in bringing the collection of circular shapes to life. Shadows on the walls and floor reflect the meticulous cutting, burning, and patchwork that Tim has created. Glueing, splattering paint, and patching with metal wire, are techniques and materials Tim has incorporated into the pieces of art as well.

As he explains his creative process, he says, “Splash! Splash! Splash!” while re-enacting the motions of splattering paint onto paper. His animated explanation gave even more life to the exhibition. I examined the pieces closely and found details that I would not have noticed only observing from afar. The papers were covered in an elaborate patchwork of materials. Under a magnifying glass, they stand out, yet looking at the exhibition from afar, it gives the impression of one whole being.

Tim highlights the idea that life is unpredictable through unexpected burns, wear, and tear. The circular shape also entails meaning: life is a cycle and time is continuous. Understanding the combination of meanings Tim has presented in his artwork is rewarding. As each layer of meaning is comprehended, another is revealed.

Materials

“Sometimes I’ll begin burning, turn away and come back and it’s burned a bigger hole than I expected”, that is the unpredictability and danger of utilising fire in his art but it directly parallels the meaning of life; it will go unplanned and there will be obstacles to overcome as you go. The tug of war in life we experience: building or creating something and then having it die or get destroyed is emphasised through Tim’s use of fire. The process of cutting something that was once whole— the sheets of paper— glueing and patching them together and then burning and painting on them to give birth to artwork is the cycle of life itself. Each piece in the show is cut and burned Arches paper.

Paper, as a medium to present the destruction created by the fire and cutting, is also significant since it highlights the fragility of life. Although the finished pieces of artwork are beautiful and captivating, they each have undergone the touch of fire and metal, and continue to withstand the test of time, just like the human experience.

Individuality

Viewers who look at Tim’s art may comprehend the attention to detail and recognise the gruelling process to a certain extent, but no one except the artist can truly grasp the amount of work and effort taken to reach such an end goal. This resembles a human experience. No matter how much explaining an individual does, no one but them will fully understand their individual experience. That quality is what makes people unique, and, simultaneously, Tim’s art unique.

katharine-osman - 1
Katharine Osman is an aspiring journalist and passionate writer keen on reporting and investigating an array of topics.

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