Peng Ke ©
2004 — 2020

Agoramaniac 广场爱恋症
Jimei x Arles Discovery Award, Xiamen, China

If the city can be compared to the human body, then the city square is like its beating heart. The crowd riding the whirlwind is like blood flowing through it. The frequent flow and encounters are random and disordered, yet serve to confirm a staggering and overlapping lifetime. Agoramania, as the name suggests, is a kind of extreme enjoyment and fascination with the crowded public place. For Peng Ke, an artist who has experienced frequent geographical and psychological changes in life, high-speed changes and crammed urban spaces have given her an abundance of sensory materials. Her images capture and reveal some of the complex symbiotic ecosystems of urban life today, the interdependence of interpersonal relationships, and the potential impact of dramatic external changes.

Peng Ke is skilled at capturing visual samples that are birthed and inspired by noisy urban settings, and the display of their psychological rhythm. More importantly, Peng Ke gives a unique tone of mist and warmth to the image. This artificial temperature, like a natural body temperature, reconciles absurd elements of the image.


(韩馨逸 Han Liya、王紫薇 Wang Ziwei)

The Secured 亲密审讯
Salt Projects, Beijing

During the preparation for the show, by chance we realized that the same material for secure enclosures are also used for the strict confinement of people. This violent contrast between a kindergarten and an interrogation room drew our awareness to the fact that security always goes hand-in-hand with strict forms of surveillance. In Peng Ke’s work, these contradictions regularly come to the surface through a subtle situation. She often captures these scenes inadvertently, seemingly by drifting without specific aim through these different settings. The artist neither adheres to the rigid documentation of reality nor does she base her methodology on a voyeuristic gaze. Rather, she situates herself somewhere between a loose and formal approach to image-making, relying on a detached way of looking in order to respond to a specific moment in time. Her photography retains a precocious, innocent, and curious gaze, which shines through a nostalgic light that radiates between her images. Against the backdrop of an ever-changing urban landscape, the corner of a living room steeped in a domestic Chinese aesthetic, or the scene of a public playground in the park – these images and perspectives are extracted from scenes to highlight the different levels of comfort and security that can be found in certain environments. These images also function as a mirror to reflect the incongruous or detached ambivalence that can be felt within these spaces.

The Secured at Salt Projects is Peng Ke’s debut solo exhibition in China and marks her first attempt to expand her photography work towards the creation of a setting within the space. Behind this warm and intimate environment, Peng Ke veils a critical gaze in her work, which in turn underscores a suppressed feeling of tension throughout the exhibition.