Peng Hung-CHih

Artist: PENG HUNG-CHIH 彭弘智

DOB: 1969
POB: Taipei, Taiwan
Education: National Taiwan Normal University, 1992
San Francisco Art Institute 1997
Lives and works: Taipei
No. works in collection: 3
Materials in Archive:
3D printed plastic pieces not used in The Deluge—Noah’s Ark
Scroll, ink painting of Farfur the Martyr
Audio and transcript of interview with Luise Guest in Taipei in 2016

References in Library:
Brief Bio:
Peng Hung-Chih was born in Taipei in 1969, and studied painting at the National Taiwan Normal University, graduating in 1992. He travelled to the United States for postgraduate study at the San Francisco Art Institute and was awarded an MFA in 1997: this experience opened his eyes to new developments in contemporary art. His multi-disciplinary, socially engaged work explores issues of global conflict, environmental destruction, spirituality, and the politically charged subject of religious extremism. He has worked with video, performance, sculpture, and installation, and he also continues to paint, a practice he considers akin to Daoist meditation. His work has been shown internationally, in solo and group exhibitions in China, Europe, the United States, Israel and throughout Asia. Peng Hung-Chih lives and works in Taipei. 

Artworks

Title: The Deluge—Noah’s Ark
Date: 2014
Broad Medium: Installation
Specific Materials: 3D printed sculpture (5366 pieces of 3D printed plastic
Dimensions: 180 x 800 x 180 cm
Description: A twisted shipwreck made of 3D printed sections

Exhibition History: Ex 18 ‘The Sleeper Awakes’, 2018
The Deluge—Noah’s Ark (2014) represents the failure of human beings to confront the environmental calamities they have created. Thirty desktop 3D printers produced the thousands of component parts that make up an eight-metre long, 3D-printed shipwrecked ocean liner – Peng’s first work using this technology. Recalling past shipwrecks from the Titanic to the Costa Concordia, and the tragic 2014 sinking of the Korean ferry MV Sewol, its ghostly whiteness also forces viewers to consider the enormity of rising seas, melting ice floes and the apocalyptic force of a tsunami. Peng Hung-Chih wanted to create a metaphor for the tensions between the benefits of technology and the forces of the natural world. Like a great, twisted, beached whale, created from the very plastics that represent looming environmental disaster, the ship lies stranded on the gallery floor.  Peng Hung-Chih says, ‘If Noah’s Ark, a symbol of mankind’s salvation, becomes just a shipwreck, human and nonhuman alike would be placed in an equal position.’  

Exhibition History: Ex 17 ‘Ritual Spirit’ 2017
In the Canine Monk series, the artist writes a passage from a religious text on a white wall with oil, then covers it with dog food. His canine companion, Yukie, is videotaped licking the words off the wall. Replayed in reverse, the dog appears to be writing the text with its tongue. In Excerpts from the Analects of Confucius, the text thus revealed consists of particularly well-known passages from the philosopher, learned and recited by schoolchildren. Abandoning an earlier proposal developed during a residency in Hong Kong in which he planned to document his dog consuming drawings and maps of the district of Wan Chai, Peng Hung-Chih decided instead to use texts that represent human history and cultural knowledge. He said, ‘I thought how interesting it would be if the dog was consuming knowledge – will the dog become a scholar? Will it be that human history is being eaten by animals? But when you reverse the video the dog becomes the teacher, it’s upside down.’ Peng was also thinking about Buddhist and Hindu beliefs about reincarnation, speculating that his dog could actually be a human being in another guise.

#3 Accession Number: 2009.045
Title: Farfur The Martyr
Date: 2008
Broad Medium: Installation/Sculpture
Specific Materials: stainless steel
Dimensions: 213 x 200 x 180 cm
Description: A stainless steel figure of the crucified Christ wears what appears to be a Mickey Mouse head. Water pours from his head and body into a pool shaped like the Star of David.

Exhibition History: Ex 17 ‘Ritual Spirit’ 2017
In the Canine Monk series, the artist writes a passage from a religious text on a white wall with oil, then covers it with dog food. His canine companion, Yukie, is videotaped licking the words off the wall. Replayed in reverse, the dog appears to be writing the text with its tongue. In Excerpts from the Analects of Confucius, the text thus revealed consists of particularly well-known passages from the philosopher, learned and recited by schoolchildren. Abandoning an earlier proposal developed during a residency in Hong Kong in which he planned to document his dog consuming drawings and maps of the district of Wan Chai, Peng Hung-Chih decided instead to use texts that represent human history and cultural knowledge. He said, ‘I thought how interesting it would be if the dog was consuming knowledge – will the dog become a scholar? Will it be that human history is being eaten by animals? But when you reverse the video the dog becomes the teacher, it’s upside down.’ Peng was also thinking about Buddhist and Hindu beliefs about reincarnation, speculating that his dog could actually be a human being in another guise. 

#3 Accession Number: 2009.045
Title: Farfur The Martyr
Date: 2008
Broad Medium: Installation/Sculpture
Specific Materials: stainless steel
Dimensions: 213 x 200 x 180 cm
Description: A stainless steel figure of the crucified Christ wears what appears to be a Mickey Mouse head. Water pours from his head and body into a pool shaped like the Star of David.

Exhibition History: ‘Beyond the Frame’, 2011, Ex 17 ‘Ritual Spirit’, 2017
 Farfur the Martyr (2008) is a stainless-steel sculpture of a Mickey Mouse-like figure in the position of a medieval crucified Christ. In a controversial appropriation of religious iconography, the figure stands in a pool shaped like a Star of David, and spouts jets of water from eyes and nipples in transgressive mimicry of the blood that flowed from Christ’s wounds. Viewers encountering this work might assume that it is a critique of the commercialisation of religion, or the reach of American popular culture across the globe. In fact, the work represents Farfur, an actor in an animal costume who was the ‘host’ of a television show for children broadcast by Hamas, the fundamentalist Palestinian organisation. The final shocking episode of the series calls for jihad, after Farfur is murdered by an Israeli agent. By appropriating a cartoon-like animal figure from a children’s TV show that incited hatred, and then attaching him to the martyred Christ, Peng Hung-Chih satirises religious extremism. While this particular work is focused on the Middle East, the totality of Peng Hung-Chih’s oeuvre reveals his distaste for the use of religion as a dividing force in the world.  

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