May 19, 2010 - Over the next two weeks, the campus community at California State University, Bakersfield, will watch as a dragon is born in the sculpture patio of the art department. Internationally known Korean artist Byoung-Tak Mun is creating a dragon tail as the final installment of his Nine Dragons series of sculptures, which inhabit different countries around the world.
When completed, the dragon tail will spiral more than 20 feet into the air. Made of rebar and branches, the sculpture will give the perception a dragon is buried with only its tail showing.
"Dragons are very important in Korea and they symbolize nature and often the wrath of nature," said Joyce Kohl, interim director of the art department at CSUB, as she introduced the artist to a group of students Tuesday morning, May 18. "Now visualize nine dragons around the world, furious about what man is doing to the earth, and burying their heads into the earth."
Mun has been working on the project for 14 years. The other dragon tails are in Australia, Belgium, Italy, France,Germany, and Korea. This will be the only one in the United States.
The sculptor knows just enough English to describe the materials he uses: iron, reeds, branches and volcanic rock. Each tail differs slightly in material, but all take a similar spiral shape.
When one student asked Mun why he chose Bakersfield for his final installment, he looked at Kohl, who said, "I think we chose him."
Mun has worked on international sculpture symposiums with two other artists whose works grace the grounds of CSUB. Those artists had been invited to campus in the past as part of the art department's annual Visiting Sculptor program. Paid by a Pelletier grant, the visiting artists are chosen from a pool of applicants voted on by students and finally chosen by a campus committee. This year, Mun made the cut.
It is his first visit to the United States. He is staying in the dorms on campus for two weeks working daily on the sculpture. The public is invited to watch the process, as well as donate branches for the project.
Kohl is still negotiating with campus officials on the location for installing the tail when it is finished at the end of next week. Kohl and Mun say they hope the location is peaceful and can be seen from a wide vantage point. Many of the other dragon tails are in natural settings -in woods, on grassy slopes, and near bodies of water. While the CSUB campus is a more urban setting, it does offer several natural expanses as possibilities.
For more information about the Visiting Sculptor program, to view the work in progress or to donate branches, please call Joyce Kohl, Interim Art Department Director, at 661-654-3095.
For more information:Joyce Kohl
Media ContactColleen Dillaway, Director of Public Affairs & Communications