Date(s) of Show: January 29 - March 7, 2004
Curated by: Marion M. Callis
Artist: Peng Hung-Chih
Peng Hung-Chih: Dogma explores art and cultural theory of the east and west in this group of recent sculptures, drawings, photographs, and video. A common thread is the artist’s use of dog images, to which Peng attaches multiple, traditional meanings. Since discovering their potential in 1997, the artist’s work has focused almost solely on dogs as surrogates and symbols. His witty, irreverent work positions the viewer to experience life from a dog’s-eye view, bringing the absurdity of modern life, human strengths, and foibles into sharp relief.
Peng’s powers of observation are matched by his story-telling ability. In his examination of human-canine interaction, common virtues and flaws become apparent when our vision is repositioned by the artist. As human surrogates, dogs stand in for us on our search for identity and purpose. They function as vehicles in spiritual and cultural mythologies of east and west, as an alter ego through which questions of equality, race and class can be considered anew, and as a symbol for the existence of an entire society (in this case the hybridized life of Taiwan, Peng’s homeland).
The humor and irony of Peng’s dogs tearing through Taipei neighborhoods is intended to reach viewers far beyond art collectors and cognoscenti. To experience the work is to understand questions of humility, for starters, and the artist doesn’t mind if his work makes viewers laugh: “It’s good for your health,” he explains.
Marion M. Callis