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2011/10/24 12:09 p.m. Taiwanese Public Animal Shelter  Time  until  Euthanized: 1.9 Hours, 2011, inject print, 152 × 112 cm. Private Collection.



2011/06/13 11:44 a.m. Taiwanese Public Animal Shelter  Time  until  Euthanized: 40 Minutes, 2011, inject print, 152 × 112 cm. Private Collection.



2011/09/23 10:00 a.m. Taiwanese Public Animal Shelter Time until Euthanized: 1.4 Hours, 2011, inject print, 112 × 82 cm. Courtesy of the artist.



2011/11/28 10:54 a.m. Taiwanese Public Animal Shelter Time until Euthanized: 1.2 Hours, 2011, inject print, 152 × 112 cm. Private Collection.



2012/12/10 10:35 a.m. Taiwanese Public Animal Shelter Time until Euthanized: 43 Minutes, 2011, inject print, 112 × 82 cm. Private Collection.



2011/03/07 04:17 a.m. Taiwanese Public Animal Shelter Time until Euthanized: 13.2 Hours, 2012, inject print, 152 × 112 cm. Courtesy of the artist.



2011/08/01 11:38 a.m. Taiwanese Public Animal Shelter Time until Euthanized: 29 Minutes, 2011, inject print, 112 × 82 cm. Private Collection.



2011/09/23 12:58 p.m. Taiwanese Public Animal Shelter Time until Euthanized: 1.1 Hours, 2011, inject print, 112 × 82 cm. Courtesy of the artist.




TOU Yun-Fei

The Fourth Genre: Laboratory/Operating Room/Specimen Room



Utilizing the classical portrait style that artists have used throughout history these images record the last moments of life for dogs found in public pounds run by government agencies in Taiwan. The images are taken on the actual day that each animal depicted is euthanized. Through these portraits the viewer is confronted with an irreversible past and witnesses the decay of life, moments before death. These nameless animals, by virtue of the size at which they are printed and the approximations to human scale, are transformed into existence.

As you engage with the dog, the dog returns the scrutiny. The relationship between seeing and being seen, between the subject and object reverses and the discriminatory hierarchy is lessened. The status of power between humans and other salient beings, those considered “the other” is diminished.

The images presented in the Memento Mori act as the artist’s own self-portrait whereby one can look back and in retrospect reflect upon times of confusion and despair; the pains of both spirit and body; the desire for exit and the fear of death; and witness the melancholia.

Profile

Tou Yun-Fei, born in 1975, earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rhode Island School of Design. He worked as a photojournalist for ten years. Since 2010 he has pursued independent fine art photography projects. His images and ideas revolve around a variety of social issues of his native Taiwan, where he lives and works, and incorporate a variety of artistic and conceptual approaches. His work MEMENTO MORI has been exhibited and viewed both nationally and internationally. In 2011, the work was featured in PROVOCATION, a juried, invitational held in conjunction with the New York Photo Festival. The series was awarded the Grand Prize by “The 10th Taoyuan Creation Award" in Taiwan, and also selected by PhotoShelter as a “Notable Photography Project.” The images have been widely published through numerous news and media platforms around the world, include: Der Spiegel, Daily Mail, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Herald, Discovery magazine (Taiwan), as well as the Huffington Post. MEMENTO MORI has also gained academic acclaim, particularly amongst scholars in the field of animal ethics and animal rights—where papers and thesis have been written regarding the body of work.