TAIPEI.- The Taipei Fine Arts Museum presents today Another Beautiful Day: A Solo Exhibition by Pei-Shih Tu, on view through May 3, 2009. Pei-Shih Tu was born in Miaoli, Taiwan in 1981. She graduated with an MFA Fine Art degree from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2007 and is currently one of the most promising young artists in Taiwan. Mainly working with frame-by-frame animations and collages, her current artistic concern is examining contemporary human conditions by exploring the link between fantasy and menace using fictitious narratives. When images of the collapsing Twin Towers in New York were being broadcasting to billions all over the world, a new terror emerged, the worry that potential catastrophe and its unexpected nature will lead to the construction of more defenses, which will lead to the creation of more anxieties. Citizens of the first world, who stand on the beneficial side of capitalism, need fantasies and ideological heroes to sustain their feelings of security. Pei-Shih is particularly interested in the derealisation of menace and believes that this condition shows both the ignorance and carelessness with which first world countries treat the rest of the world.
Her work usually questions the effects that western capitalism imposes on poorer parts of the globe. However, instead of being socially engaged in representing reality or challenging the system itself, the works tend to be visually highly desirable and imaginative, whilst at the same time forcing an acknowledgement that system is complicit. Focusing on handwork, the appropriation of images and low-budget production, and by presenting visually kitsch and very decorative work, she frequently employs stop-motion animation or collages in the form of illustrations that could be taken from children's books to evoke a misleading and unreliable innocence. One is at first attracted by the hi-saccharine look of her work, which is later followed by an understanding of the violence and absurdity that lies behind it.
As the exhibition title "Another Beautiful Day" suggests, the four single-channel projection stop-motion animations presented at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum ironically celebrate the arrival of the wonderful new age of utopia and fantasy. Uneasy Journey and Another Beautiful Day are based on the innocent, imaginative and happy world usually represented in typical animation. However, the happy scenes gradually appear to lose control and descend into absurdity, revealing the dark side of humanity, which serves as a metaphor for anxiety about catastrophes caused by war and globalisation.
Who Cares About The Real appropriates a picture from The Guardian newspaper in summer 2008 and critiques the depicted sumptuous banquet served before the 2008 G8 summit in Japan, which was tabling a discussion about the world food crisis. This satirises the 'bubble' way of life maintained by First World politicians when faced with the food crisis through a seemingly happy and theatrical scene. A one-minute looping video art piece, We Need More, And More And More And More Fantasies, shows Americans wearing Barack Obama T-shirts, London bankers affected by the economic recession and Taiwanese youths who are passionate about cartoons and anime. They are waving and smiling at the camera, which suggests unease and the fear of a possible calamity looming on the horizon.
Since 2007, Pei-Shih's work has been shown internationally at various film festivals, including Amsterdam Film Experience (The Netherlands, 2007), VAA videomedeja (Serbia, 2007), East Lansing Film Festival (USA, 2008), the 6th International Filmmor Women's Film Festival (Turkey, 2008), Cyprus International Short Film Festival (North Cyprus, 2008), and Maryland Film Festival (USA, 2008). Group exhibitions include "The Art of Consumption" (Whitecross Gallery, London, 2007), "Grooving 2 - New Wave of Taiwan Contemporary Art" (Project Fulfill Art Space, Taipei, 2008), and "Jam - Cultural Congestions in Contemporary Asian Art" (South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell, 2009).