"To Dress Up at Home" is a series of works including 4 photographs and one video "To Dress up at Home-5"
Two dogs are removed from a pound, only to be returned costumed as “purebreds,” a Collie and a Dalmatian. Their new skins cover their bodies almost entirely, and plastic eyeballs with small holes that enable the dogs to see, make the transformation even more complete. The main interaction of the film is a barking match between a caged dog and the costumed Collie. The camera captures the two as it would any dialogue, their profiles evenly distributed across the frame. One barks, then the other appears to respond. It seems like this call and response could go on forever. The changing intensity and frequency of the barks confuses any attempt to easily distinguish whether the message communicated is benevolent or hostile. As in much of Peng’s work, the viewer is left to project onto rather ambiguous sign systems. Is this canine conversation about jealousy, longing or perhaps just a retelling of what has happened since these two old friends lost touch?
Four photographs further document this interaction. Often featuring many dogs within same shot, the contrast between the pound dogs and those wearing clean costumes is dramatic. In one birds-eye shot, the Collie-convert is being mounted by a scruffy-looking Golden Retriever mix while the rest of the dogs are staring in another direction. In another, the Collie appears to be fighting with another dog. At the other end of the pen, the Dalmatian replica stares blankly into space, while a group of dogs are all engaged in the familiar canine ritual of determining another’s identity; sniffing its behind.