The Enchanted GardenChen Kunpiao (b. 1920 )

Status

Extant

Address

Taitung City, 950, tw

Visiting Information

The work is viewable from the front street, and also from the alley behind.

About the Artist/Site

There is a small taste of artwork at the entrance to Chen Kunpiao’s home, but nothing to prepare the visitor for what lies beyond. The enchanted garden behind the house is lush with tropical plants and bushes, side by side with strange, rough cement sculptures representing diverse animal species. There, cows, elephants, giraffes, birds and other unidentifiable animals are placed around brightly-painted stones and rocks. There are also some figurative works, including soccer players, which is rather strange in this country, where the sport is not particularly popular. The ground level of the site is equally decorated and painted.

Chen Kunpaio, age 94, lives here with his daughter and her family. A retired signalman for the railroads, around twenty years ago he began to collect rocks and stones and dedicated his time to arranging them around his garden. At the same time he began to sculpt with cement, and every morning of the year he tirelessly paints and repaints the works in his garden with bright primary colors. His creative activities became so obsessive that his family had to forbid him from decorating the walls of the house, which he had also wanted to ornament. His daughter and her family have accepted his work, but view it as a certain expression of senility, as, without doubt, it is mocked by his neighbors. And, as due to his age he is rather incoherent—and does not care about public response—I was unable to determine what his motivations were for his creative efforts. I would have liked to have a longer exchange with him about his work, but the time for explanations by him has now, unfortunately, already passed.  It is unclear what will happen to his constructions after his passing.

The work is viewable from the front street, and also from the alley behind.

 

~Remy Ricordeau

Translated by Jo Farb Hernández

Map & Site Information

, 950 tw
Latitude/Longitude: 22.758333 / 121.144444

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