Art@Site Tang Da Wu Last Shopping

Tang Da Wu


Last Shopping

Akebono-cho, Tachikawa-shi
Tang has expressed concern about environmental and social issues through his art, such as the works They Poach the Rhino, Chop Off His Horn and Make This Drink (1989), Under the Table All Going One Direction (1992) and Tiger's Whip. He first presented the latter work, an installation and performance piece, in 1991 in Singapore's Chinatown. It consisted of ten life-sized tigers made from wire mesh covered with white linen. Tang, wearing a sleeveless white garment, dragged one of the tigers behind him. A modified version of the installation is in the Singapore Art Museum. It features a tiger with its front paws resting on the back of a rocking chair, which is draped with a piece of red cloth and with a phallus painted on it in red. The work highlights how the tiger is being hunted to extinction for its reproductive organs, which some Chinese believe has aphrodisiac qualities. In February 1995, the Museum chose Tiger's Whip to represent Singapore at the Africus International Biennale in Johannesburg, South Africa. Another of Tang's works in the Singapore Art Museum is an untitled sculpture often called Axe (1991), which is an axe with a plant growing out of its wooden handle.[31] It is regarded as an early example of found object art in Singapore.
A focus of Tang's art is the theme of national and cultural identities, I Was Born Japanese (1995) being an example. Tang notes that he has had four nationalities. He was issued with a Japanese birth certificate as he was born during the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. He became a British national after World War II, a Malaysian citizen when Singapore joined the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, and a Singaporean citizen when Singapore gained full independence in 1965. While living in the UK he was conscious of his Chinese identity, but later on he took the view that he might not be fully Chinese since China had been occupied by the Mongols and Manchurians: "I'm not sure if I'm 100% Chinese blood. I'm sure my ancestor has got mixture of Mongolian and even Thai and Miao people [sic]. We are all mixed, and this is true. But I always like to think that there is only one race in the world. We are all one human race." Another of Tang's performances, Jantung Pisang – Heart of a Tree, Heart of a People, centres around the banana tree. He was inspired by the fact that the banana is used widely in Southeast Asia as an offering to bring blessings, but is also feared as it is associated with ghosts and spirits. He also sees banana trees as a reminder of the lack of democracy in certain parts of the world: "Democracy in many Asian countries and Third World countries is as shallow as the roots of a banana tree. We need to deepen [democracy]."
Tang has participated in numerous community and public art projects, workshops and performances, as he believes in the potential of the individual and collective to effect social changes.] He has said: "An artist should introduce to others what he sees and learns of something. His works should provoke thoughts, not to please the eyes or to entertain, much less for decoration.
Tang began to work in performance art in 1979. In 1988, cofounded the Artists Village, a collective committed to promoting experimental art through the provision of studio and exhibition space.
Working through a de facto ban on performance that began in 1994 as a response to artist Josef Ng trimming his pubic hair at a public festival, the organization supports community interaction through social relevance and the hosting of public site-specific interventions.
Through performance, installation, painting, and drawing, Tang explores social and environmental themes including deforestation, animal endangerment, and urban transformation.