My Kafkaesque Czech Life - Peng Hsiung is exhibiting in Japan

6. 7.-14. 7. 2024
Gallery Biga, Kyoto, Japan

Peng Hsiung, a student in the Studio of Illustration and Graphic, will present his project My Kafkaesque Czech Life, inspired by the artist's stay in the Czech Republic and at UMPRUM, at Gallery Biga in Kyoto, Japan.

My Kafkaesque Czech Life - Peng Hsiung is exhibiting in Japan

The term "Kafkaesque" describes the feeling of entering a surreal world where all the original plans and norms have lost their functionality. What once worked no longer does.

In early 2023, I arrived in the Czech Republic for illustration studies. Language barriers, cultural differences, and the interactions with my classmates of the younger generation filled my experience with misunderstanding and speculation. All my attempts turned out futile as a Kafkaesque struggle. This was my first shock.

Coming from a society driven by logic and reason, I felt another jolt in this dreamy university full of imaginative classmates. Not only my dedication to illustration was challenged and inspired, but also my life perspective was significantly impacted.

My previous experiences in Taiwan and the understanding of illustration seemed to lose direction in this new environment. The methods I once relied on, and the belief that illustration should be complex and poignant, gradually transformed into a simpler approach that focused on documenting the small details of everyday life.

My initial outreach to my Czech classmates was a surreal experience surrounded by conversations in Czech and their shared laughter. It was difficult for me, as a foreigner, to join. I had no choice but to keep staying with other international students in the first place. I felt isolated, alone and unsupported.

As my mental state had become stable, my curiosity about Czech culture started to grow. I found that Czechs drink beer like water, and their way of building friendships involves a bit of teasing before getting serious; most Czechs are shy and reserved, making it hard to understand what they are thinking sometimes. If you hear them laughing together, the subject is mostly about trivial everyday matters.

In this exhibition, I aim to present my life in the Czech Republic, and reflect my need for divine help and self-discovery to get through my confusion and powerlessness. I also want to reflect how the beautiful geometric landscapes in the Czech Republic have helped stabilize my mind and body, and allow me to continue my “Kafkaesque Czech life.”