Wallace Chan
Essay by James Putnam

isbn 978 1 9161687 7 0

96pp196 × 290 mm

Hardback on Munken Lynx Rough 120gsm and Gardamatt 150gsm with Sirio Pearl endpapers

Edition of 1,500

April 2022


This book documents an extraordinary exhibition at Venice’s Fondaco Marcello, in which the component parts of a sculpture too huge to assemble are displayed and arranged as a constellation of fragments within a historic space, alongside the technical instruction manual that could potentially be used to raise the 10-metre colossus of iron and titanium to its full stature.

Wallace Chan has once again pushed his creativity and the technical possibilities of his chosen materials to unprecedented extremes, presenting a complex puzzle from which the viewer can attempt to conceive the totality of his vision. Chan is renowned for his extraordinary jewellery creations and sculptures, with work included in the permanent collection of the British Museum.

His creativity and curiosity have led to a myriad of innovations over the past 45 years including: The Wallace Cut, an illusionary three-dimensional carving technique invented in 1987; the mastery of titanium; a patented jade technology; the invention of elaborate gemstone settings without metal claws; and most recently, The Wallace Chan Porcelain, a groundbreaking material that is five times stronger than steel.

Totem is curated by James Putnam, who contributes a thoughtful essay to this publication, threaded through with the artist’s own expressions of his philosophy and working methods. The book also contains collaged excerpts from the installation manual for the monumental sculpture, whose parts are sensitively explored in the book’s extensive photography.