Sun Yuan and Peng Yu return to Italy after success at the Biennale. Exhibition in Rome and talk in Carrara

Chinese duo Sun Yuan and Peng Yu return to Italy for an exhibition in Rome and a talk in Carrara.

Chinese artists Sun Yuan (Beijing, 1972) and Peng Yu (Heilongjang, 1974), who have been working as a duo since 2000 and are veterans of their success at the 2019 Venice Biennale (where their works Dear and Can’t Help Myself captivated audiences and received unanimous acclaim), return to Italy where they are the protagonists of an exhibition in Rome and a talk at theAcademy of Fine Arts in Carrara. The exhibition is a special project of the Continua Gallery in San Gimignano, where, moreover, the two artists have already exhibited last year: it is If I died, an exhibition that runs from January 24 to April 26, 2020 at The St. Regis in Rome, where the public has the opportunity to admire three installations by the Chinese duo(If I died of 2013, Teenager Teenager of 2011 and I didn’t notice what I’m doing of 2012) that are united by the desire to conduct a reflection on the condition of the human being.

In Carrara, on the other hand, there will be a talk (Saturday, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. in the Aula Magna of the Academy of Fine Arts), again in collaboration with Galleria Continua (the talk is a collateral initiative of the exhibition), focusing on the importance of the experimental nature of contemporary art in Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s projects from 2003 to 2019. The two artists will tell the audience about their attempt to escape from the context to revive its expressive forms and methodologies through a pure artistic language that enhances sensory perceptions, focusing on subverting the rules of reality and the principles of art.

The talk is entitled I didn’t notice what I’m doing (“I don’t know what I’m doing”), which, as it turns out, is also the title of one of the works on display in Rome, namely one of the artistic duo’s most famous installations featuring, onenext to each other, a triceratops and a fiberglass rhinoceros, taken as an example to describe how man tends to pass off conjectures with no scientific basis as absolute certainties.

On the occasion of the exhibition in San Gimignano in spring 2019, the artists explained the genesis of the work and its significance: “At the Natural History Museum in London there were, side by side, reproductions of a triceratops and a rhinoceros. We began to wonder, and to ask the wardens, whether the two animals had any special connection. The answer was always because the triceratops is an ancestor of the rhinoceros.” Once the fiberglass sculptures were made, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu discovered that the two animals, not only had no kinship, but belonged to two distinct animal species. The triceratops, often referred to in encyclopedias as the modern rhinoceros, is a three-horned dinosaur, an egg-laying reptile. The two-horned rhinoceros, on the other hand, is a mammal. "The title of this work is I didn’t notice what I’m doing because in the human mind often reside concepts and visions that are probably true."

The meeting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara will walk through the artists’ careers through a tale in two voices.

Pictured: Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Can’t Help Myself (2016, industrial robot, stainless steel, rubber, cellulose ether in colored water, sensor-illuminated grid, plexiglass wall with aluminum frame; installation view @ Venice Biennale 2019). Courtesy: the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana. Ph. Credit Ela Bialkowska, OKNO Studio.

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu return to Italy after success at the Biennale. Exhibition in Rome and talk in Carrara
Sun Yuan and Peng Yu return to Italy after success at the Biennale. Exhibition in Rome and talk in Carrara

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