Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Kang Pu Si Shou  亢普四獣 (Four “Computer” Beasts)
  • Qiu Anxiong
    born 1972
    born: Chengdu, China
  • Kang Pu Si Shou 亢普四獣 (Four “Computer” Beasts), 2008
  • Xin Shanhai Jing 新山海经 (New Book of Mountains and Seas)
  • Where object was made: China
  • woodcut
  • Paper Type: rice paper
  • Image Dimensions Height/Width: 420 x 500 mm
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: 16 1/2 x 19 5/8 in
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 497 x 577 mm
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 19 9/16 x 22 11/16 in
    Mat Dimensions: 32 x 24 in
  • Museum purchase: R. Charles and Mary Margaret Clevenger Art Acquisition Fund
  • Not on display
  • 2009.0111.04
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Temporal Turn: Art and Speculation in Contemporary Asia", 11-Nov-2016
This print portfolio suggests a traditional Chinese book, but depicts the fantastical creatures featured in chapter one of Qiu Anxiong’s video trilogy The New Book of Mountains and Seas. Each of the bizarre creatures is accompanied by an inscription using archaic terminology and composed in classical Chinese that simulates the Shanhai Jing, a second-century geographic text describing strange creatures in distant lands, upon which the name of the video trilogy is derived.
Four Computer Beasts (亢普四獸, Kang Pu Si Shou)
These creatures were first found on the continent of Ameilikan [America]. Their names are Kang Pu [Computer], Mo li tuo [Monitor], Ke bo [Keyboard], and Mao shu [Mouse]. The Mo li tuo has a single foot and a square face that is capable of playing tricks of hallucination. The Ke bo is flat with square shells on its back. The Mao shu does not have any feet and slides on its belly. The Kang Pu has a square body, and although its body appears to be stiff, it is [actually] quite clever because it can imitate the thinking of human beings. These four creatures cohabit and are dependent upon one another. They are linked together by their tails. Nowadays people all over the world feed them in order to make use of them. [In extreme cases] people are [too heavily] reliant on them, and cannot leave them for a single moment.

Exhibition Label:
"Qiu Anxiong: New Book of Mountains and Seas," Feb-2010, Kris Ercums
There is a beast that comes from the American
continent that is in four parts: Kangpu [Computer], Molituo [Monitor], Kebo [Keyboard], and Maoshu [Mouse]. The Molituo is an independent cube that has the ability to change its illusory likeness. The Kebo has one flat side covered with square scales. The Maoshu has no feet, but slides around on its stomach. The body of the Kangpu is also square, appearing clumsy but it is actually highly intelligent. It can perform computations and think like a person. The four beasts are born together and remain connected by the tail. Today they are commonly raised for use, and are overlly relied upon by their owners who oftentimes cannot be without them.