our work ‘Wonderful City’ resembles a 3D architect’s impression. Why did you choose to display it in this way?
I didn’t think about a 3D architect impression. I just wanted to materialise every building as a body that contains the complex human conditions. This way is more direct.
The work features a number of anamorphic, mutant figures. What do these represent?
This sculpture presents a seemingly glorious mountain water mirage that is a combination of a variety of totem modeling; the landscape both fictional and virtual; the deformed, mutated, distorted, and incomplete human bodies; the monsters of water creatures. It shows the nihilism, degradation and decadence after people experience “paradise”, and return to the primitive state of chaos, shattered rational cognition, the overflow of lust. Just like the primordial times described in Shanhai Jing (Classic of Mountains and Seas).
Wonderful City, is corresponding to the city scape of the crazy development of contemporary China. It describes the kinds of life conditions experienced by people living inside the buildings. This reproduction of the life forms are declared by the form of lust. After the rational mind is asleep deeply, all kinds of lust are walking in the night. This lust, most of it is a mutated hybridity between humans and the inferior organisms. It’s a metaphor for the more primitive and lower grade lust. Similar to the demons in the Chinese classic “the internal chaos causes the mutation of the appearance / external.”
“My work shows the nihilism, degradation and decadence after people experience “paradise”, and return to the primitive state of chaos, shattered rational cognition, the overflow of lust.”
ach figure is incredibly delicate and intricate. How long did it take to print the entire work?
It takes about three months to print every piece. It takes 6 months in total to print the whole work.
I read that your favourite city is New York “because of its human richness”. How can Chinese cities inject more of this human quality into their urban planning and architecture? Do you think this is possible, or has the urbanisation gone too far?
If Chinese cities injected more of a human quality, the first principal is to respect humanity. The capital driven nature of the simple urban improvement, results in the homogeneity of the spatial pattern in most of the new model cities. Though this homogeneity brings efficiency, it costs the richness of social life. Influenced by the synergistic effect, a simple, dull and ugly city must produce a simple and dull and ugly life. This kind of city and people, are all matching the capitalism high efficiency model of social organisation. Once humanity is abandoned, is traded, the evil characteristics and wickedness will be magnified. Urbanisation should improve people’s lives, not do the opposite.
Cheng Dapeng, ‘Wonderful City’ (detail) 3D prints, lightbox, 960 x 200 x 80 cm, image courtesy the artist and White Rabbit Gallery.
hat came first, your interest in art or architecture?
First architecture, architecture and art both are social practices.
The urbanisation of Chinese cities is often attributed to an obsession with the new and the western (and the subsequent destruction of the old world). Do you agree with this statement?
Yes, the internal error of confusion in the cultural system, leading to the malfunction of the local cultural to play an effective role during the urbanisation process.
Sculpture by Cheng Dapeng exhibited at OpenArt Beijing
THE FINAL FIVE
Favourite book Classic of Mountains and Seas
Favourite film The Legend of 1900
Favourite band / musician ABBA
If you weren’t an artist what would you be? Toy Designer
If you could change one thing about the world today what would it be? The air in Beijing