Sun Yuan and Peng Yu

September 22, 2012 - January 6, 2013


Collaborators since the late 1990s, Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu create provocative works that take as their subject some of the most compelling and complex issues of our day, from stem cell research and plastic surgery to terrorism and other forms of violence like rioting and dog fighting. Sometimes creating a direct confrontation with their viewers, their works often tap into common fears and anxieties and challenge particular worldviews. They tease out these issues by placing their viewers in the midst of strange situations: a self-propelled garbage dumpster that crashes into gallery walls, lifelike sculptures of elderly world leaders in wheelchairs bumping into one another, and a tall column comprised of human fat removed during plastic surgeries, to describe a few. The single work on view in their Hammer Project—I Am Here (2006)—grapples with the political complexities that inform East-West relations and the lingering conflicts that have deeply affected our relationship to the Middle East. By bringing these issues to the forefront, the artists shed light on prejudices and worries that might otherwise stay dormant. Hammer Projects: Sun Yuan and Peng Yu will be the first presentation of the duo’s work in the United States.

This exhibition is organized by guest curator James Elaine.


By Karen Smith
Now We Are All Here...


Almost as soon as they began working together in the late 1990s, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu acquired the reputation of being two of China’s most controversial artists. Since then, they have certainly produced a number of arresting projects in the name of art, using materials that frequently serve as the primary cause of the controversy. Placing a trampoline in an exhibition space, which viewers were required to use if they wished to view the artwork that had been placed in a closed-off area, was one of the least problematic—despite several fractured ankles that resulted. Their use of human fat extracted in the process of cosmetic surgery for a work acerbically titled Civilization Pillar (2001) raised the stakes. As did the use of live animals in works such as the aptly named Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other (2003), in which dogs from the most powerful breeds were placed face-to-face on moving treadmills. More


Hammer Projects is made possible by a major gift from The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Generous support is provided by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and by Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy. Additional support is provided by Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley; the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; the Decade Fund; and the David Teiger Curatorial Travel Fund.


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