On View: Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s “Dear” at Galerie Perrotin

by Roxanne GoldbergPosted on

View of the exhibition Sun Yuan & Peng Yu “Dear,” Galerie Perrotin, Paris, 12 September – 9 November 2013. Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, “If I die” 2013. Silica gel, fiber glass, birds specimens, video 14 min / 6 éléments, dimensions variable. Photo : Claire Dorn. Courtesy the Artists and Galerie Perrotin.

An elderly woman in a full-length housedress floats through the air, surrounded by a flock of colorful and exotic birds. One wrinkled hand holds a garland of delicate pink flowers, while the other guides a parade of manta rays. Her grey hair is whipped back and her eyes are closed in a placid expression of quiet, private joy. “If I Died” (2013) is constructed of fiberglass, silica gel sculpture and bird specimen by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, two of China’s most controversial artists, and is part of the exhibition “Dear,” on display at Galerie Perrotin in Paris until November 9, 2013.

Most well-known for their hyper-realistic artworks made of human fat, rubbish and live animals, the Beijing-based artists are exhibiting four installations and a video work that provide provocative commentary on contemporary issues. “Teenager Teenager” (2011), originally installed at Arario Gallery in Korea, positions five male figures in suits and one female figure in a luxurious silk dress, reclining on sumptuous leather furniture, while a performance occurs around them. The surrounding action contrasts with the characters’ entirely static and frontal body language that does not engage any of the other individuals. Each head has been replaced by a monumental stone, making blatant references to the dumbing down of intellectual culture, waning social interactions and the increased sense of isolation in society. Alongside this large-scale installation, other works in “Dear” engage with themes of censorship, police authority, notions of disgust and death.

View of the exhibition Sun Yuan & Peng Yu “Dear” , Galerie Perrotin, Paris, 12 September – 9 November 2013. Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, “If I die” 2013. Silica gel, fiber glass, birds specimens, video 14 min / 6 éléments, dimensions variable. Photo : Claire Dorn. Courtesy the Artists and Galerie Perrotin.

View of the exhibition Sun Yuan & Peng Yu “Dear,” Galerie Perrotin, Paris, 12 September – 9 November 2013. Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, “If I die” (detail) 2013. Silica gel, fiber glass, birds specimens, video 14 min / 6 éléments, dimensions variable. Photo : Claire Dorn. Courtesy the Artists and Galerie Perrotin.

View of the exhibition Sun Yuan & Peng Yu “Dear,” Galerie Perrotin, Paris, 12 September – 9 November 2013. SUN Yuan & PENG Yu, “Spilling out” 2013. Metal, silica gel, 80 x 150 x 100 cm / 31 x 59 x 39 1/2 inches. Photo : Claire Dorn. Courtesy the Artists and Galerie Perrotin.

View of the exhibition Sun Yuan & Peng Yu “Dear,” Galerie Perrotin, Paris, 12 September – 9 November 2013. “Teenager Teenager” 2011. Performance, sofa, stones. 1440 x 540 cm / 47.2 x 17.8 feet. Photo : Claire Dorn. Courtesy the Artists and Galerie Perrotin.

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