中文
Galleria Continua
San Gimignano
Beijing
Les Moulins
Habana
Roma
View works by
Qiu Zhijie
View works by
Zhuang Hui

Viewing Room

Sun Yuan & Peng Yu

Sunyuan B.1972, Beijing, China / Pengyu B.1974, Heilongjiang, China


Throughout their artistic career, SunYuan & Peng Yu have deliberately incorporated provocative materials into their work, ranging from live animals to human flesh, bones and oil. The work of Sun Yuan & Peng Yu is based on the incessant confirmation of paradox, on the perpetual search for the dualities between reality and falsehood, the manifest and the concealed. Their apparently provocative work is the demonstration of a continual analysis of life through experience in which the viewing public is often invited to participate, with the will to find the essence and substance hidden behind appearance.

Continuing the exploration of materials and objects, the work Canʼt Help Myself first commissioned by the Guggenheim Museum of New York and then shown at the 58th Venice Biennale, employs an industrial robot, visual-recognition sensors, and software systems to examine our increasingly automated global reality, one in which territories are mechanically controlled and the machine-human relationship is rapidly changing.

Placed behind clear acrylic walls, the robot performs one specific action: it contains viscous, deep-red liquid within a predetermined area. When the visual-recognition sensors detect that the fluid has strayed too far, the arm frenetically shovels it back into place, leaving smudges on the ground and splashes on the surrounding walls.

Sun Yuan & Peng Yu are known for using dark humor to address contentious topics, and their robotʼs repetitive and endless dance presents an absurd, Sisyphean view of contemporary. However, the bloodstain-like marks that accumulate around the robot evoke the violence that results from surveilling and guarding border zones. Such visceral associations call attention to the consequences of authoritarianism and the increasing use of technology to monitor our environment.

Can’t Help Myself

2016

KUKA industrial robot, stainless steel and rubber, cellulose ether

in colored water, lighting grid with visual-recognition sensors,

acrylic wall with aluminum frame

Ed. 2/3

“To consider an increasingly mechanized and automated global reality through the development of technologies and networks. Sun Yuan & Peng Yu’s new work, "Can’t Help Myself" (2016), engages AI robotics and a visual sensor control system. In the exhibition space, we find a large robotic arm with a shovel atop a base.

The machine rotates and shovels back an unidentifiable viscous deep red liquid that spreads out from underneath and around the base. Over time, the repetitive shoveling leaves marks and residue that resemble bloodstains, evoking the idea of surveillance and warfare surrounding border control and land disputes.

Akin to real life, the borders that emerge and disappear.

Beyond the blood and lives sacrificed in border conflicts and wars, these security mechanisms affect the everyday, from surveillance cameras in urban areas to smartphones that allow us to document and share moments of our lives while monitoring and con- trolling our behavior. These multiple layers of surveillance point to the relationship between humans and machines; as we create machines and design programs to control them, we inadvertently become subjects of their monitoring.“


From the Guggenheim Museum (Publication: Tales of Our Time, 123-124)

If seeing is not an option

2013

Project video

12 actors, blindfolds, Table, Ak-47, guns

7’ 48’’

Ed. 6

Teenager Teenager

2011

Simulation of sculpture, sofa, simulation of stone

Ed. 3

“This work was originally made up of two different parts: one was a set of sculptures and the other was a performance. While the sculptures are viewers of the performance, both parts existed independently from each other.

The performance was different each time we presented it. These two parts seemed related to each other, but in fact they were unconnected; even if they couldn’t communicate with each other, they would still exist in the same world. The part which is the performance couldn’t be collected as a “thing” you could only collect the sculptures. Finally, when you’re looking at the sculptures wearing the huge stones, you are missing one part of the work and the reason why is to remind you about the absence of a teenager. Don’t forget, the title of the piece is “Teenager Teenager”.

Peng Yu