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“Between Humor and Pain, Tragedy and Comedy” The Art of Can Sun

Updated: 4 days ago




Can Sun, born in 1992, is a London-based Chinese artist whose work navigates the delicate balance between humor and pain, tragedy and comedy. Holding a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Political Science from China, as well as a Master of Photography from the Royal College of Art in the UK, Can Sun crafts art that both challenges and enchants.




Can Sun's work delves into the absurdity of the world and human relationships by using everyday objects, often overlooked, as subjects of his creations. Through his unique process, he transforms these mundane items into playful and self-mocking art, akin to writing a poem. His humor acknowledges the absurdity of the world while simultaneously rebelling against it.



Our Love



A Personal Journey




In the first half of my life, I experienced a lot of hurt and pressure from society and my family of origin.



Rooted in his experiences with societal and familial pressures, Can Sun’s art is a form of personal healing. He uses humor to confront and transform these pressures, making his work a beacon of resilience and creativity.


His commitment to making a difference is evident in his participation in charity exhibitions, such as a notable event in London supporting Alzheimer’s patients.




Remarkable Collectors and Exhibitions


Sun's art is highly esteemed by prominent figures, including a former chairman of Barclays Bank, BBC hosts, and several billionaires, reflecting his widespread appeal and the high regard for his creative talent.


Charity Exhibition: The Healing Power of Art and Music 2023, London, UK.

5 pieces were sold at the Charity Exhibition: The Healing Power of Art and Music 2023, London, UK.


Can Sun's work has garnered international acclaim, with exhibitions and collections spanning the globe.



One of his most notable pieces, "Perfect Love," has been selected by the Vienna State Opera for the covers of their program materials, marking a significant milestone in his career.



The Odunpazarı Modern Museum (OMM) in Turkey also proudly features his work in their prestigious collection. Can Sun also participated in 2023 Lunar New Year Christie’s Lates, London.


2023 Lunar New Year Christie’s Lates, Christie, London, UK





Artistic Philosophy


Butterfly Lovers



Conceptual Brilliance:

Sun Can’s photographs transcend mere representation, becoming two-dimensional abstractions filled with layered meanings. He repurposes everyday objects to create images that challenge viewers to engage their imagination, inspired by artists like Sarah Lucas and Erwin Wurm.




love you/help me



Exploring Absurdity and Relationships:

Can’s art reflects on life’s absurdities, drawing inspiration from existentialists like Albert Camus. His whimsical object sculptures highlight the futility and humor in human efforts, sparking both laughter and contemplation. These pieces symbolize the fragility and complexity of human relationships, revealing the inherent absurdity and resilience of life.






be it humor,

pain,

a continuous breakdown,

or the gentle touch of reaching the limit.





“The most intriguing aspect that I love about your work is the concept of "ephemeral" that is inherent in your pieces. The constant sense of the possibility of collapse, mirroring our society, with a question mark of resurrection at the end. It's very cinematic work; as you mentioned, comedy intertwines with tragedy and expands the perception of time.” — by an Italian collector


Power by Power



 “Between humor and pain,

tragedy and comedy.”





A subtle degree of cruelty circulates in Can Sun’s work. Far from violent, this cruelty is delicate and tender, measured yet taut; Cruelty, in these works, mediates the absurdity of the world and the playfulness with which Sun creates his compositions. Stay for a moment with this cruelty, and you will start to sense pain, insecurity, love, and desire, all entangled with one another. — London solo exhibition review




A series of ongoing creations initially began with a uniquely conceived clinking of glasses, which remains Can Sun's favorite work to date.

Untitled, 2021

In this piece, two water glasses lean against each other, standing tilted on the table, while the water inside forms a single level surface. This scene appears effortlessly casual, as if arranged spontaneously, yet it exudes a sense of careful and precise force, reenacting the dynamic moment of clinking glasses with an exceptionally stable structure. The visual effect created by the "collision" of these ordinary objects possesses a peculiar allure, enticing viewers to gaze upon it.



Can Sun explains, "The glasses clink under their own weight, resembling a party celebration ritual. The level water surface suggests that in our efforts to build relationships, we strive to elevate our energy to match the other person's—but we also constantly face the risk of tipping over."




"People always seem to carry too many burdens in their hearts, as if life is just a series of milestones that must be completed, and any compromises made along the way are justified."





RSVP Now

Digital art sharing night


We invite you to pause amidst endless toil,

to gaze and contemplate the very essence of life itself.



Dive into Can Sun's captivating world at our upcoming gallery event. Experience the intertwining of humor and pain, tragedy and comedy, through his thought-provoking art pieces.



RSVP now to be part of this unique event.






View all Can Sun's Art Pieces

 



Hurt to be Present, 2023, London

The artwork titled "Hurt to be Present" by Can Sun, created in London, presents a striking visual metaphor encapsulated within a simple yet powerful image. The piece features an apple, meticulously wrapped with its own peel to resemble a delicate ribbon, suggesting the idea of being constrained or bound by one's own nature.

"Hurt to be Present" metaphorically explores the theme of self-restraint and the pain associated with it. The apple's peel, intricately wrapped around itself, represents the self-imposed boundaries and the emotional scars we carry. The act of binding the apple with its own peel suggests how individuals often restrict their true selves, either to conform to societal expectations or to protect themselves from vulnerability.

The ribbons made from the peel also evoke a sense of gift-giving, hinting at the idea that our true selves are a gift, yet often hidden beneath layers of protection and self-imposed constraints. The artwork prompts viewers to reflect on their own experiences of pain and the lengths they go to protect their inner selves, ultimately questioning whether these self-imposed boundaries are necessary or whether they hinder true presence and authenticity.

In essence, "Hurt to be Present" is a poignant commentary on the human condition, illustrating the tension between the desire for authenticity and the fear of vulnerability. It encourages viewers to contemplate the cost of their self-imposed limitations and to consider embracing their true selves, despite the inherent risks.


Dance Softly, 2022, London

"Dance Softly" metaphorically explores the theme of delicate interactions and the beauty found in simplicity. The apple slices, carefully positioned to support and complement each other, represent the idea of mutual support and the importance of gentle, mindful connections.

The choice of using apple slices, with their natural curves and translucent quality, evokes a sense of fragility and elegance.

The circular arrangement of the apple slices also hints at the cyclical nature of life and the continuous flow of experiences. The artwork invites viewers to contemplate the elegance of small, seemingly insignificant moments that collectively create a harmonious and beautiful existence. It suggests that, much like a soft dance, life is a series of interconnected movements that, when approached with grace and mindfulness, can create profound beauty.

The artwork is featured widely by the press, including The Society Magazine 2023.



Untitled, 2021, Shandong

A series of ongoing creations initially began with a uniquely conceived clinking of glasses, which remains Can Sun's favorite work to date.

In this piece, two water glasses lean against each other, standing tilted on the table, while the water inside forms a single level surface.

"Untitled" serves as a metaphor for the interconnectedness of people and the delicate equilibrium needed to sustain meaningful connections.

he visual effect created by the "collision" of these ordinary objects possesses a peculiar allure, enticing viewers to gaze upon it.

Can Sun explains, "The glasses clink under their own weight, resembling a party celebration ritual. The level water surface suggests that in our efforts to build relationships, we strive to elevate our energy to match the other person's—but we also constantly face the risk of tipping over."

"People always seem to carry too many burdens in their hearts, as if life is just a series of milestones that must be completed, and any compromises made along the way are justified."

The artwork invites viewers to reflect on their own relationships and consider the ways in which they balance transparency and vulnerability, openness and protection.

This piece by Can Sun stands as a testament to the artist's ability to convey complex emotional and relational themes through simple yet powerful visual metaphors.



Our Love

This work was created during a time when the artist was facing serious problems in their own romantic relationship. In love, everyone feels they are giving more, sacrificing themselves to warm the other. However, in reality, we often hurt each other in the name of love, leading to a situation where both parties lose. Perhaps if we didn't try so hard and allowed ourselves to just be, we could truly support each other in love, instead of ultimately falling off a "cliff" together.




Love u / Help me

The video features a ring inscribed with "Love you." When the ring is removed, the imprint "help me" appears on the finger. This piece invites multiple interpretations: it could suggest that romantic relationships are indeed supportive; it may imply that love can sometimes feel overwhelming, with "help me" indicating a cry for assistance; or it might hint that the expression "I love you" often masks a deeper plea for help. The artwork underscores the notion that we might not love the person themselves, but rather the benefits they provide to fulfill our current needs.



Butterfly Lovers

The inspiration for this work comes from a classic piece of Chinese literature, "Butterfly Lovers." In the story, Zhu Yingtai, disguised as a man, goes to study and forms a deep friendship with her classmate, Liang Shanbo. Later, Zhu falls in love with Liang and reveals her true identity as a woman, and the two secretly vow to be together for life. However, Zhu is forced into an engagement with a wealthy merchant's son. Heartbroken, Liang dies of illness. On her way to the wedding, Zhu leaps into Liang's grave, and the pair transform into butterflies that dance together eternally, symbolizing people’s everlasting desire for pure love.



Power by Power

The video shows an oscillating fan moving from side to side. Every time it faces a wind-powered light bulb, the bulb lights up. This is a perfect metaphor for modern love. Everyone tries to find their ideal partner, often hesitating between multiple options. When we become more passionate and committed to one person, the others, feeling neglected, "go dark."



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