“Art should be a tool of propaganda, a tool to awaken the collective conscience.”

b.1969, Taipei, Taiwan. Lives and works in Taipei and Beijing

Peng Hung-Chih says his main artistic role is “to criticise society”. One of his favourite approaches is to yoke seemingly incompatible elements together. In Farfur the Martyr (2008), he joins the body of the crucified Jesus Christ and the head of Farfur, a Mickey Mouse clone who appeared on a children’s propaganda show broadcast by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. Farfur, whose stint on the program ends with his crudely acted murder by an “Israeli official”, transforms the quintessentially American Mickey Mouse into “a tool for anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments”, the artist says—an inversion of meaning that “can be seen as a real-life theatre of the absurd”. For Excerpts from the Analects of Confucius (2008) and the other videos in his Canine Monk series, Peng Hung-Chih painted philosophical sayings on a wall in dog food, filmed his dog licking the characters away, then reversed the videos, creating the illusion that the dog (“god” in reverse, he notes) is writing the wise words. His The Deluge—Noah’s Ark (2014) is an eight-metre-long cruise ship assembled from 8000 parts designed with specialised software and produced by 3D printers. The ship’s frame is twisted, making it seem to writhe as it drowns. The artist says it represents the catastrophes that result from sin, the flouting of divine and natural law. In the first global disaster, Noah’s ark was man’s sole hope of survival, he says. But what if it had sunk?



 

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