Can’t Help Myself

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu are a duo of contemporary Chinese artists whose collaborative works intend to elicit strong emotional and physical reactions in the viewer.

A key work of their exhibition “Can’t Help Myself” at the 58th Venice Biennale is an industrial robot whose enormous lifting arm swings an oversized brush that tries in vain to wipe up blood-red paint all around the floor and redistribute it again. Sometimes the movements are graceful, sometimes abrupt, even brutal. Above all threatening. Nevertheless, its difficult to turn one’s gaze away and escape the attraction of this strong and terrifying yet mesmeric installation.

We cannot yet decide whether this is our favorite work of art at this years Biennale. But it is certainly one of the most controversial and intense – as you would expect from Sun Yuan and Peng Yu. This artwork also fits in well with the current debate about digitization and the displacement of humans (and humanity) by robots. (currently offline)

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