P’eng’s Journey to the Southern Darkness (南冥有鳥, 其名為鵬)
Supported by Taiwan Ministry of Culture
Private View: Monday 22 August, 6-8pm
Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP
22 August – 2 September 2016
Open Weekdays, 9am-5pm
P’eng’s Journey to the Southern Darkness is the first London solo exhibition of Taiwanese artist Ting-Tong Chang (MFA Fine Art, 2011), who creates large-scale installations that look to analyse the relationship between science, technology and society.
The title of the exhibition comes from influential Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi’s text Free and Easy Wandering. The story follows a fish in the North Ocean who turns into a giant bird and sets to travel to the South Ocean while a cicada and a dove ridicule him for attempting this. As in the story of Zhuangzi, Ting-Tong’s durational performances and his contemporary automata anthropomorphise other self-generating subjectivities such as fish, caterpillars, mosquitoes and crows.
In the exhibition are four kinetic sculptures of crows on elevated plinths and a collection of taxidermy birds, with internal computer circuits in their stomachs exposed, together announce failures of the artist by pronouncing rejection letters from numerous open calls to which he has applied.
The birds are surrounded by film documentation of various representative performances. For each piece, Ting-Tong collaborated with scientists and engineers to create a self-sustaining ecology within which he integrated himself by living on nothing else but fish and caterpillars, or provided his own blood to feed mosquitoes.
Presented together with these works is a series of drawings Ting-Tong created while he confined himself in these self-torturing ecosystems. Depicted illustrations unfold his cynical yet comical imagination of the Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest ecology of the ‘art world’ he has taken part of over the past decade as a foreign migrant from Asia.
P’eng’s Journey to the Southern Darkness (南冥有鳥, 其名為鵬) and its collateral events are curated by Eiko Honda (BA History of Art, 2008), overseas curatorial fellow, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan. Find out more about the exhibition and associated events.
Ting-Tong Chang (MFA Fine Art, 2011) was born in Taiwan and currently lives and works in London. The themes explored in Ting-Tong’s installations echo his early life in a Chinese society focused on manufacturing, exportation and the materialism associated with an industrial area. When he moved to the UK, his artistic style evolved to address the wider issues of consumerism in Western society and the environmental concerns that have stemmed from this dichotomist relationship. Ting-Tong describes his journey to the West as the move from one machine to another, from the production of products and the resulting pollution to a machine that generates profit and crisis.
Ting-Tong has exhibited and received a number of awards internationally. Recent solo shows include at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop (2014), Manchester Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (2015) and Christine Park Gallery London (2016). His major awards include the Edinburgh Creative Initiative Award 2013, Bursary Award 2015 of Royal British Society of Sculptors and RISE Award 2016 at Art Central Hong Kong.