From 26 March to 25 September 2011, the Groninger Museum will present an exhibition of photos by Chi Peng (1981). This exhibition, entitled Me, Myself and I, will feature both early and recent work. Chi Peng’s talent manifested itself during his study period at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, from which he graduated in 2005. Chi Peng regularly exhibits at home and abroad, and his work was previously on display in the Groninger Museum in the group exhibition New World Order. Modern Installation Art and Photography from China, in 2008. Me, Myself and I is Chi Peng’s first major solo exhibition outside China. On the basis of this exhibition, the Groninger Museum has managed to make a substantial acquisition.
As a consequence of China’s one-child policy, Chi Peng grew up without brothers or sisters. His multiple use of self-portraits, as in the series entitled I Fuck Me, in which he has sex with his alter ego, or the images of an escapist dream world, appear to reflect feelings of loneliness and isolation rather than of narcissism. Growing up and maturity form important themes in his work. The enormous dynamics, the irresistible progress of China, as well as themes concerning (sexual) identity and accompanying feelings of optimism, doubt, uncertainty and loneliness, are all expressed in images where reality and fiction meet one another.
One example of this is the series entitled Sprinting Forward. Several alter egos of Chi Peng are to be found at various locations in Beijing. They seem to be fleeing from red aeroplanes. ‘It is about the young generation and our, perhaps naive, expectations with regard to the present and the future. It has also to do with the tensions that are connected with the process of growing up, the increasing pressure to achieve, and the anxiety for failure,’ explains Chi Peng. Works such as Why Should I Love You and I Am Sorry, I Just Don’t Love You articulate what many Chinese people have experienced in the big cities in the recent past – radical urban renewal that has alienated many residents from their own surroundings.
The most recent series Mood is Never Better than Memory is clearly more reflective and tranquil. Feelings of loneliness and isolation also appear here in the foreground. There are scenes where Chi Peng has situated two alter egos near the sea or on an island with a flock of seagulls above, circling around them like a sinister cloud.
Curators: Mark Wilson and Sue-an van der Zijpp.
Guest curator: Feng Boyi.
Book: A book will be published to accompany the exhibition: Chi Peng – Me, Myself and I. Hardcover/full colour, 152 pages. Authors include: Richard Vine, Feng Boyi, Ai Weiwei.
Publisher: Hatje Cantz. ISBN: 978-3-7757-3132-4.
Price: € 35. Price in the Groninger Museum: € 29.95.
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Photographer: Chi Peng
© Groninger Museum
Pictures Chi PengPictures Chi Peng (.ZIP)