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Hung-Chih Peng: Canine Monk


Opening : May 24th.
Location : 526 West 26th Street – 4th Floor – Room 416
Gallery Hours : Tuesday to Saturday 11 am – 6 pm and by appointment

Virgil de Vold?re Gallery is pleased to present Canine monk, our first solo show with the Taiwanese artist Hung-Chih Peng.

一隻白狗出現在螢幕的中央開始舔著白牆,每舔一下就出現文字,接著如“然後神說“這樣的句子就開始顯現出來了,如此快速地舔著及來回移動,一到整個句子完成了之後,這隻狗低下了頭退至鏡頭之外,又沒多久再度出現,並寫下如“我們要照著我們的形像、按著我們的樣式造人“之類的句子。

A white dog appears mid-screen and begins to lick a white wall. With each lick, words emerge and a sentence becomes clear: And God said. Once the sentence is completed with pacing and rapid tongue movement, the dog bows his head and recoils backwards out of the frame only to reappear a moment later and write: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…

在“犬僧“系列作品中,彭弘智用油寫下宗教經文,然後在上面鋪上磨成細粉的狗食,讓狗來舔乾淨,並重複如此的過程。這書寫的過程並不只是一個枯燥的線性過程,時而激情,但是如此形式上的重複也培養了一種沈思式的清靜。這些作品很容易地與錄影科技的使用聯想在一起,當被普遍地使用中的倒轉功能,讓這隻狗的角色由一隻本能性的動物變成一個具創造力的動能。這作品還提供另一種“倒轉“功能:神是狗在英文拼字上的倒轉。

In the ‘Canine Monk’ series, Peng writes words from religious texts in oil and covers each letter with ground dog food. After the dog licks the wall clean, the process is repeated. The act of writing is non-linear, sometimes fervent, but the methodical repetition fosters an almost pensive tranquility. These works are intimately bound to the technology of video; when the common feature of rewind is used, the role of the dog changes from instinctive creature to creative agent. The videos also thematize another 'rewind'; god is dog in reverse.

剛開始在這系列作品時,彭使用佛教、道教及印度教經文。這些經文通常提出人類及自然的一體價值。而這些經文的書寫是使用它們的原始文字,所以西方觀眾在句子一開始出現時,只能凝視它的單純文字結構,直到句子完成之後,英文翻譯開始出現。在這樣的過程中,這作品靈敏地將因無法解讀的惱怒轉化成一種異於尋常的滿足。

Peng began the series with Buddhist, Taoist and Hindi religious scriptures. Several of these pieces address the unity of human kind and nature. Since these texts are inscribed in their language of origin, the Western viewer is left to first contemplate them on formal terms alone. Only when the sentence is completed do the English subtitles appear. In this way, the videos often nimbly shift from the exasperation of incomprehension to the great satisfaction that occurs when understanding is finally achieved.

一直到他最近搬到紐約後,彭開始發掘西方宗教中的基礎經文,特別是在伊斯蘭教及基督教之間,在語言學上及主題上的相似之處。“十誡及伊斯蘭註解“是一件雙投影的錄影作品,在左頻道中,這隻狗寫下希伯萊文的十誡,然而在同時,在右頻道中幾乎可辨識的是從可蘭經來的引述,只是在此,所使用的書寫是英文。這英文書寫使這伊斯蘭文章反而在這兩種語言中,變成了令美國觀眾最熟悉及最可讀的。使用了最不失衡的公斷角度,彭持續地渴望創造出一個文化翻譯的媒介。

Upon living temporarily in New York, Peng became interested in exploring the foundational texts of Western religions. He was especially struck by the many linguistic and thematic commonalities between Islam and Christianity. ‘Ten Commandments and Islamic Exegesis’ is a dual-screen projection. On the left, the dog marks the Ten Commandments in Hebrew, while, on the right, almost identical quotes are excerpted from the Koran - only here, they are written out in English. The English writing makes the Islamic text seem the most familiar and readable of the two for the average American audience. Using the most unbiased of arbitrators, Peng continually aspires to create a medium for cultural translation.

同時是無辜的、低等的生物及令人信任的伴侶,這隻傳遞神聖經文的狗佔據了一種正反兩極的位置。當美國藝術家William Wegman常將他的狗穿上衣服,然後安置成一種擬人化的劇情人物時,彭那四隻腿的夥伴被提升至一個表演的主體,從而取代他的對立角色﹣人類。這隻狗介入了讀者及文字之間,並提供了在內文中的一種疏離感,然後激起通常被認為難懂的議題:誰才是這些經文背後的書寫主題?及訴求的對象是?當從狗的嘴中傳遞出來時,奇怪的是這些文字變成了更人性化。

At once innocent creature, inferior species as well as trusted companion, the dog holds an ambivalent position as conveyer of sacred texts. While the artist William Wegman often dresses up his dogs and positions them in anthropomorphic scenarios, Peng's four-legged companion is elevated to performing subject, thereby displacing its human counterpart. The dog intervenes between reader and text, thereby defamiliarizing its content and raising issues that often otherwise remain opaque: Who is the writing subject behind these scriptures and to whom are they addressed? When delivered via the mouth of the dog, these words, strangely, seem all the more human.

文:Sara Lookofsky
中文翻譯:彭弘智

By Sara Lookofsky
Chinese Translation by: Hung-Chih Peng

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