ChunTeng Chu

(Taiwan) b.1982

Lives and works in Taipei

ChunTeng Chu began making short films as an undergraduate, and began participating in international film festivals with his senior graduation work The House of Sleeping Beauty, inspired by the Kawabata Yasunari novel. While studying abroad, Chu became attentive to the ways in which people in the East and West interpret each other’s cultures, an approach that directly related to the issue of value identification and other questions raised by his own circumstances. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he shifted his focus toward fine art.

In a world that is constantly changing, how should we deal with those things that change/don’t change? Two stories in Aesop’s Fables reveal how bats have adapted to their own physical features and lifestyle over the years and the very different ways they have been viewed in societies and cultures.

A Great conflict was about to come off between the Birds and the Beasts. When the two armies were collected together the Bat hesitated which to join. The Birds that passed his perch said: “Come with us”; but he said: “I am a Beast.” Later on, some Beasts who were passing underneath him looked up and said: “Come with us”; but he said: “I am a Bird.” Luckily at the last moment peace was made, and no battle took place, so the Bat came to the Birds and wished to join in the rejoicings, but they all turned against him and he had to fly away. He then went to the Beasts, but soon had to beat a retreat, or else they would have torn him to pieces.

 “The Bat, The Birds, and the Beasts” in Aesop’s Fables

What is a bat? In terms of appearance and natural evolution, the bat appears to be a combination of different animal characteristics. Its head looks like a pig, its body like a mouse, and its wings like a bird, but it has webbed feet like a frog. Even its skeleton is hollow to facilitate flight.

A Bat fell to the ground and was caught by a Weasel, and was just going to be killed and eaten when it begged to be let go. The Weasel said he couldn't do that because he was an enemy of all birds on principle. "Oh, but," said the Bat, "I'm not a bird at all: I'm a mouse." "So you are," said the Weasel, "now I come to look at you"; and he let it go. Some time after this the Bat was caught in just the same way by another Weasel, and, as before, begged for its life. "No," said the Weasel, "I never let a mouse go by any chance." "But I'm not a mouse," said the Bat; "I'm a bird." "Why, so you are," said the Weasel; and he too let the Bat go.

“The Bat and the Weasels” in Aesop’s Fables

The work Aesop’s Bats takes the evolutionary characteristics of bats as its starting point, collecting the bones from different parts of various animals and combining them to create different-sized bat skeletons. This creates a harmonious visual structure, but is chaos-based creation derived from biological evolution. How will Aesop’s bats look as they soar into the sky? Moreover, how should we present our existence as individuals in a changing society?

Chu’s works have been selected for group exhibitions at Fábrica de Talentos Porto/Portugal; MOCA Taipei; the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow; Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel; and the NARS Foundation, New York. He was the recipient of Taipei Arts Award honorable mentions in 2011 and 2012.

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