Tu Wei-Cheng was born in Kaohsiung in 1969 and graduated from the Tainan National University of the Arts (TNUA)’s Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts in 2005. He is currently an Associate Professor at TNUA. Tu’s extensive résumé of exhibition experience includes showings of his work at the 2006 Shanghai Biennale Hyper Design exhibition, at Shanghai’s Rockbund Museum in 2010, the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture in 2011, the 9th Gwangju Biennale Roundtable exhibition in 2012, the 4th Guangzhou Triennial The Unseen exhibition in 2012, the Weight of History exhibition at the National Gallery Singapore in 2013, the ‘Jie’ (Boundaries) Exhibition of Contemporary Art from Taiwan at the Johnson Museum at Cornell University in 2014, the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney, the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, Canada in 2015, and the Museum of the Kyoto University of Art and Design in 2016. Tu further received a commission in 2016 from the UK-based Cass Sculpture Foundation to create a unique work for its permanent collection. Most recently, Tu’s works have been exhibited at the British V&A Museum (2017) and the 1st Thailand Biennale (2018), with his works now on permanent display in Krabi, a popular tourist center in southwestern Thailand.
The Remains of Giants and Monsters – The Yi Village Site
Among the many fables told by Taiwan-born science fiction writer Chang Shi-Kuo is one about a battle between a giant beast named “Past” and a giant man named “Future”. Although the man ultimately vanquished his foe, he found himself devolving slowly but surely into the beast that he had subdued as he watched another giant man striding toward him from the sea. Chang’s fable is a metaphor for the incessant progression of technology, where every “latest-and-greatest” new development is fated to obsolescence and to being trounced in competition with some future rival.
Taking its cue from Chang’s ‘beast vs. giant’ fable, this installation creates an ‘archeological site’ on the lawn in front of C-LAB’s Dormitory A Building that features the ‘bones’ of a 5m-tall giant man and 7m-tall giant beast ‘frozen in time’ at the moment they both struck mortal blows and died locked in a final death grip. The presentation suggests the future of mankind may well be to return to the sea to live as giants below the waves. This is somewhat of a reverse-take on the traditional Taiwanese fable of the shark-deer (shalu’er), which tells of a shark that, after surviving being beached, had morphed into a deer. This installation is interwoven with historical imaginings on Taipei City basin’s former status as a shallow lake and long-ago legends of monsters; speculative predictions about mankind’s future evolution; and reflections on humans, monsters, and their peculiar relationship with each other. In planning this installation, workshop participants from the public lent personal items related to the themes of the future and monsters, which were then reproduced and featured as archaeological ‘finds’.