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No Country for Canine: WU Chuan-Lun

20191224100937457440 (1)Publisher: TFAM
Category:Exhibition Catalogs
Published Date: 2019/11
ISSN: 978-986-54-1232-6



The Taipei Fine Arts Museum is delighted to present "2019 Solo Exhibition series II" this summer, which features artists who explore issues they care about through diverse media to create interaction and dialogues with each other while providing the audience a rich exhibition viewing experience. No Country for Canine is artist Wu Chuan-Lun’s on-going project that has been carried out in recent years. Through his research about the German Shepherd Dog and man-made objects based on the breed, Wu discusses various topics, including national identity, racism and cultural politics. This project originated from a batch of ceramic coin banks in the shape of German Shepherd Dog, which Wu collected in Taiwan. These coin banks were mainly produced in Yingge; and with humorous, amusing appearances, they were used as prizes in the traditional game of ring toss. As coin banks, they reflected Taiwan's social condition at the time when economy was rising. Their posture of sitting on the hind legs, on the other hand, demonstrates the protectiveness of their owners and families, and moreover, benefits the use of kiln space and enhances the winning rate in ring toss, reflecting the Taiwanese collective memory of an earlier time.
In 2017, when conducting an artist residency in Berlin, Wu took the opportunity to expand his collection of ceramic German Shepherd Dog statues from around Europe and even visited the breeding place of the breed, deeply researching and making interviews about the various aspects of the German Shepherd Dog, including pedigrees, certification and its relation to the German people and the country's military history. Comparing to the ceramic dogs from Taiwan, those found in Europe mostly adopt a lying position. The nuance in posture also indicates differences in political background, aesthetic view and people's preference. From varying dog breeds, to human races, to ceramic dogs of different origins, the artist reveals the ideologies underlying the man-made appearances of these dog statues. In addition to interweaving found objects, photographs, interviews, archives and forms in the exhibition, Wu also incorporates many works he has created for the exploration of his subject matter. For instance, he uses dog treats made of sheepskin to cast bronze letters and spells out various keywords related to the exhibition, including "BREEDS," "NATION," "ETHNIC," "REGION" and "RACE." He creates drawings and ceramic sculptures that portray the geometrically shaped bodies of German Shepherd Dogs in agility training exercises, such as "hoop," "wall climbing" and "ladder climbing." He also displays partial prints of the intriguing medallions worn on the necks of the dogshaped coin banks, which carry words that reflect the historic atmosphere, adding a sense of humor into his critique and sarcasm as well as the discussion about the domestication and keeping dog as a plaything.

Wu utilizes his personal interest – the canines – as a point of entry to explore this unique topic in a naturalist approach through collection, classification, study, knowledge production and artistic creation before introducing his discussion of deeper issues, rendering the exhibition and his work highly appealing and thoughtprovoking for art enthusiasts, professional canine breeding communities and general dog lovers. We look forward to seeing him continuously develop this project.

Director of Taipei Fine Arts Museum Ping LIN


Foreword/Ping LIN

Allach Nr.76/WU Chuan-Lun

The Canine Body and Other Thoughts Regarding No Country for Canine/CHEN Kuan-Yu

No Country for Canine: Extension of Human Will/CHU Feng-Yi

List of Works