Seeking the Truth

Sculptor and artist Sun Yu-Li produces art pieces that reflect his questions on existence and the purpose of life.

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When one visits the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information building, it’d be near impossible to miss a pair of spiral structures situated near the Media coLab. Designed by artist Sun Yu-Li, 72, they are known collectively as the BC-AD sculpture.

Commissioned by the Nanyang Technological University in 1997, the sculpture symbolises the exchange of information through communication that is continuously flourishing from pre-civilisation to our civilisation today, between the time periods of BC and AD.

“It is represented by a circle, of which the circumference ratio is infinite. The square represents our needs on Earth that are finite,” said Sun of his creation.

An internationally renowned sculptor and artist, Sun is a Singaporean citizen who was born in China, and has devoted 40 years of his life in pursuit of understanding the universe’s complexities. Beyond Singapore, his sculptures can be found in China, Indonesia and the United States.

Through his works, he is determined to find out “what is life” and “the purpose of life”, and his musings are reflected in them. Sun uses “Universal Language,” a term he adopted, to create his art.

“It is represented by a circle, of which the circumference ratio is infinite. The square represents our needs on Earth that are finite.” 

Sun Yu-Li, International Artist

According to Sun, “Universal Language" incorporates elements such as images, symbols and lines, that links human and mathematical languages. Sun sees it as a way to help him answer philosophical questions in a logical manner and he uses visual representations to help others understand the concept.

Having previously obtained a master’s in architecture at the Catholic University of America, Sun initially wanted to be a professor.

But while pursuing a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Sydney at the age of 31, his research paper on the topic of “Universal Truth” was met with unfavourable responses from a professor, and he realised that going down that path may not be the wisest choice.

Sun and his wife then moved to Singapore for a fresh start.

He turned to art and began to read extensively into various academic subjects such as physics, philosophy and space in order to understand the universe and educate himself on these knowledge fields.

Today, Sun continues to work on his art while serving as an advisor for the Sculpture Society of Singapore and other visual arts organisations.