Sun Pei Mao was born in Taipei, Taiwan. He graduated in artistic creation at the Taipei National University of the Arts. He spent the latter half of 2016 in an exchange program at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. His works exude a strange ornate beauty, expressing a “movie-like” sense of theatrical tension.
Sun Pei Mao finds artificial landscaping to be one of humanity’s more interesting and amusing cultural artifacts, and exploring these complex scenes reminiscent of bizarre movie sets is one of the more memorable aspects of his childhood.
SUN Pei-mao’s works “Park Information” won a superior prize at the Taipei Art Awards in 2017. At the invitation of Professor LIN Mun-lee, director of MoNTUE, Park Information went on a joint exhibition in 2018 of Taiwanese artists at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan, located in Shirokane Minato, Tokyo. Many small- to medium-sized amusement parks were built in Taiwan beginning in the 1990s without regard to the rapid decline in both birth rates and total population that started in 1991. Many large temples, schools, and factories were renovated or expanded too. Birth rates only started to stabilize after the turn of the millennium. However, people continued to have fewer children, the population began to age, and many factories moved out of the country, leading amusement parks and plants to lose money and go bankrupt in large numbers. Consequently, the art of deserted structures began to emerge. For example, famous Taiwanese new wave movie directors YANG De-chang and CAI Ming-liang often had their set piece scenes at deserted structures as a way to recall the memory of the glory days long gone and preserve the present desolation and past glory.
In “Park Information” series, SUN Pei-mao incorporated animals not native to Taiwan, such as zebras and elephants, and idols in Chinese folklore into his works about past amusement parks in Taiwan. He used an almost self-mocking approach to reshape a common experience that many Taiwanese had growing up. Taking the inverse perspective approach, SUN Pei-mao reassembled dissimilated elements in a picture into a huge, map-like visual scene, and various little stories were unfolding concurrently at various spots on the scene.
While deserted amusement parks, temples, and other man-made objects and building space were the main focus of SUN Pei-mao’s works in “Park Information”, SUN Pei-mao’s solo exhibition in 2018 focused on scenes that depicted interpersonal relationships. In a relationship, interpersonal interactions, whether one-sided or two-sided, were akin to the scenes that SUN Pei-mao had created in “Park Information”. In the solo exhibit, SUN Pei-mao created dating men and women and scenes about various mental pictures from the interplays between these people.In “Park Information”, SUN Pei-mao made props the main characters and relegated people to the background. By contrast, in the new works in this solo exhibit, he seemed to take screenshots of the foreground. In his new works, people appeared in pairs or dejectedly alone. They were absorbed in doing whatever they were doing, but their bodies and facial expressions appeared so infirm and abject, as if they were saying that failures and frustrations were inevitable in a relationship. Joy and pain, however, were ephemeral. SUN Pei-mao, like a profiler or a psychologist, shaped the characters with body messages that were not in accord with their emotions or facial expressions. This gives viewers room to discover the many contradictions in his paintings, raise more doubts, and evoke more explanations in their minds.