San Francisco lives in a bubble all its own. Our surroundings are fantastical and bright—thus always evoking an image of city of perpetually effulgent color, despite the enclosing fog cover. Now, for the time being, there's another artist adding his Pop-art colored work to our artistic landscape: Taiwanese artist Hung Yi
and the member sculptures of his Fancy Animal Carnival
The Taiwanese sculptor, who 15 years ago decided to sell his nine restaurants in Taiwan and pursue art full time, works in a playful, hybrid style full of bright, primary colored hues, cartoonish figures and traditional motifs, patterns and lettering. Each one of his sculptures is handmade out of baked steel enamel plates and represents anthropomorphic interpretations of animals. Yi's current large-scale display on the east side of City Hall is no exception.
A modern Taiwanese twist on Aesop's Fables, Fancy Animal Carnival
uses the folk tale of the twelve animals of the zodiac, blending the Chinese and European versions of the famed tale. Each of the 19 animal sculptures represents a story, an allegory of life wisdom, expressed through its interaction with each piece and the public. Take the example of the elephants. According to the artist's description at the base of the work, the word elephant is a homonym of the word "sharing" in Mandarin. Therefore the work depicts two elephantine figure sharing a cherry with each other and the action in the sculpture is being shared with the spectator.
Bold colors, meticulous details, and symbolic imagery innately embellish each animal alluding to the joys, as well as the double entendres, we experience in everyday life. Within some works, their toothy grins turn into snarls depending on the viewing perception angle. Also, by mounting this artwork in Civic Center, a zone of the city replete with homelessness and social inequality, Hung Yi reminds viewers of the power of play and creativity, even while complexities in life arise and surround you.
The exhibition was organized and privately funded by the Insian Gallery
in Taiwan and the Swinging Skirt Golf Foundation
. It was coordinated by the Office of the Mayor, the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Recreation and Parks Department and will be on temporary display from April 19 through May 7.
So the moral of this article, if any? Take a walk near City Hall and witness this artful circus act before it packs up and leaves town.