For my first art post in ten months, I’m taking it to the streets of San Francisco … to the Civic Center to be exact, for an outdoor exhibition of the fun and colorful sculptures of Taiwanese artist Hung Yi. One of Taiwan’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, Hung Yi is renowned for his quirky and whimsical sculptures of people and animals. His latest collection, entitled Fancy Animal Carnival, was on display for two weeks at the Joseph L. Alioto Performing Arts Piazza on the eastern front of San Francisco City Hall, and I was lucky to catch it on its final day.
Described as a modern, Taiwanese twist on Aesop’s Fables, Fancy Animal Carnival consists of a menagerie of 19 large-scale animals constructed from baked enamel on steel plate. Each piece vividly captures his signature style of bold, bright colors, intricately detailed patterns and humorous and whimsical designs. His animated and personified interpretations of animals are based on symbols that, in Taiwan, are traditionally believed to be lucky.
He also decorates the modern sculptures with traditional Taiwanese patterns and texts that are believed to bring about good fortune. Beyond these cultural references and influences, I also detected a strong psychedelic hint of seventies pop artist Peter Max and the fantastical animation of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film from 1968.
Interesting fun fact about Hung Yi: Born in 1970, Taichung, Taiwan, he was once an owner of nine restaurants. At the age of 30, he decided to live his life fully as an artist following attention for his work in 2002.
While up close and personal is the best way to experience the amazing intricacy of his work, in this case, photos will have to do. I’ve included different angles of the pieces, because the patterns and expressions often changes from side to side. Look closely, because in this case of Taiwanese artist Hung Yi, the devil is in the details.
Check out the gallery after the jump.