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Kongkee Resurrects an Historical Chinese language Poet in an Energetic Cyberpunk Imaginative and prescient of Asian Futurism — Colossal

Kongkee Resurrects an Historical Chinese language Poet in an Energetic Cyberpunk Imaginative and prescient of Asian Futurism — Colossal

Kongkee Resurrects an Ancient Chinese Poet in an Energetic Cyberpunk Vision of Asian Futurism — Colossal


#Asian Futurism
#set up

March 20, 2023

Grace Ebert

“The Tears” (2020). All pictures © Kongkee, courtesy of the artist and Penguin Lab, shared with permission

The story of the legendary Chinese language poet Qu Yuan ends in tragedy. Dwelling throughout the harmful Warring States interval that ran from 481 to 221 BCE, Qu Yuan was an influential author and politician who was banished by King Huai of Chu and subsequently spent a lot of his time touring the nation and dealing on verse. The lifetime of exile didn’t swimsuit the poet, although, main him right into a deep melancholy and towards his eventual suicide within the Miluo River. Created as a hunt to retrieve Qu Yuan’s physique, the annual Dragon Boat Pageant continues to at the present time in celebration of his legacy.

A forthcoming exhibition at Chicago’s Wrightwood 659 imagines the poet’s afterlife “as his soul journeys from the traditional Chu Kingdom to a retro-futuristic Asia the place he’s reborn as an android in a psychedelic cyberpunk panorama.” Melding historical past with a particular sci-fi imaginative and prescient, Kongkee: Warring States of Cyberpunk options works in a number of mediums by the London-based Chinese language animator and artist Kong Khong-chang, often known as Kongkee. Utilizing movies, projections, installations, historical objects, and graphic items, the artist explores Asian Futurism by means of the energetic and luminously rendered narrative of a Chinese language icon.


A vibrant work of a person standing with their back to the viewer as they look at a vivid green-washed cityscape

“Time Traveller” (2018)

An extension of a comic book sequence Kongkee created again in 2013, the present considers existential questions of immortality, how the physique and soul work together, and the tenuous relationship between humanity and machine. Daring, saturated colours emphasize the position of the digital within the visionary realm, whereas mountain ranges, clouds, and huge starry skies incorporate extra pure and classical motifs that have existed for millennia. Rippled waves and water function prominently, referencing Qu Yuan’s drowning in 278 BCE.

Though based mostly on a lifetime of immense struggling, Kongkee’s works are optimistic as he envisions a universe the place redemption and reconciliation are doable. The artist shares in an announcement:

I requested myself, what occurs when a soul emerges after 2,000 years from underwater—does it search out one thing new? Does it return to acquainted locations? Qu Yuan’s poetry has a psychedelic, wandering high quality that I attempted to mirror in my artwork, however I additionally wished him to mirror the disorientation, in addition to the hope, of our period.

Following its U.S. debut at the Asian Artwork Museum in San Francisco, Kongkee: Warring States of Cyberpunk opens in Chicago on April 14 and shall be on view till July 15. Discover extra from the artist on Instagram.


A portrait of a woman-cyborg with her face revealing her machine brain against a green backdrop

“The Singer” (2018)

A portrait of a vibrant cyborg figure with radiant beams surrounding its head and a city in the background

“Dragon’s Delusion vinyl cowl” (2021)

A vibrant work peering up at a shirtless man in front of a building with a night sky above

“Qu Yuan, Dragon’s Delusion—Assassination” (2018)

A vibrant depiction of a city nestled in the mountains

“The twenty fifth Hour” (2018)

A spliced work depicting a ship up top and a cyborg with illuminated eye beams below

“The Pier” (2018)

#Asian Futurism
#set up


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