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Beyond Hyper-Realism?

By Ed McCormick 3 months ago 3 Views No comments

13 hyper-realist sculptures of elderly world leaders by Chinese artists, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu.


The Chinese artist duo Sun Yuan and Peng Yu are known for their ultra-realistic art – and way beyond. Sun Yuan and Peng Yu are two of China's most controversial artists, renown for working with extreme materials such as taxidermy, human fat tissue, live animals, and baby cadavers to deal with issues of perception, death, and the human condition.

In Old Person's Home, Sun & Peng present a shocking scene of an even more grotesque kind. The 2008 installation is made up of 13 hyper-realist sculptures of elderly world leaders, including Yasser Arafat and Leonid Brezhnev, in electric wheelchairs set to automatically wander through the room and bump into one another. It is hilariously wicked, watching decrepit world leaders, long crippled and impotent, left to battle it out in true geriatric style. Sitting in their electric wheelchairs, the withered, toothless, senile, and drooling, are set on a collision course for harmless 'skirmish' as they roll about the gallery at snail's pace, crashing into each other at random in a grizzly parody of the “U.N.dead".

Sun Yuan was born 1972 and Peng Yu was born two years later in 1974. Since the 1990s the have been living and collaborating in Beijing. Sun was born in Beijing while Peng was born in Heilongjiang. They won the Contemporary Chinese Art Award in 2001. They are both alumni of the prominent Beijing Central Academy of Art .