The recent Roadkill Custom Art Show at Wrong Gallery Taipei is the third exhibition to invite artists to augment the Roadkill sculpture by twelveDot (Hyunseung Rim), following the Roadkill: Safe Passage at Singapore’s FLABSLAB in April of 2016 and Roadkill at Seoul’s FIFTY FIFTY in July of 2016. But, making it more unique, this newest venture is the first to request all pieces to be accompanied by a matching or complimentary rendition of Rim’s APO Frog work as well. While the APO Frog has been discussed previously (read article here), it seems essential to begin by elaborating on what the Roadkill sculpture exactly is.

What is twelveDot’s Roadkill

twelveDot's Audi R8 Roadkill at Toy Republic's Art of Life exhibition

Photo: Toy Republic

Jake Lee, owner of the designer toy production house Pobber, first encountered twelveDot’s work at the 2014 Art Toy Culture event. As Lee would later recount, he was “mesmerised by the clean lines and simplicity” of twelveDot’s pieces and especially fond of how the artist “was using toys to spread a message of conservation for the tiny and often forgotten frog”. So when the two began discussing working together, twelveDot suggested a concept that he had been pondering for quite some time: a menacing looking frog whose sleek and angular form would be reminiscent of a car, an aspect best exemplified by the rendition pictured to the right, a unique piece twelveDot modelled after an Audi R8 for Toy Republic‘s Art of Life exhibition in December of 2015. As for the significance of this automotive facet inherent to the form, it called attention to the fact that up to 95% of all creatures run over on the streets are frogs and other amphibians, thus making the title Roadkill truly appropriate. Standing roughly 9 × 11 × 7 inches, Roadkill was first displayed publicly at the Singapore Toy, Game, and Comic Convention in September of 2015, the debut edition of them being offered online in February of 2016. And, as mentioned, several art shows have been arranged around the resin form in the short time since.

The Roadkill Custom Art Show Exhibition

CHING Miniature Arts’ pieces

The only person to turn their Roadkill and APO Frog pieces into complimentary but seperate works was Wang Baoqing. Using his CHING Miniature Arts guise, his APO Frog contribution was a hanging, shadow boxed relief, an off-white assemblage of miniature objects protruding from a black background. Feeling classic in its composition and coloration, a sense of the modern is imbued through its detailed components, such as the stormtrooper with electrobinoculars.
CHING Miniature Arts’ Roadkill design, likewise, utilized his signature “pocket art” technique, constructing an intricate diorama on an elevated base. Creating a complex scene, filled with elaborate touches like the decorative coverings over the frog’s spherical eyes, this artist’s work continues to prove that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Robin Tang Antics’ pieces

Inspired by the patterning of the poison dart frog, bringing a touch of realism to the fantastical forms, Robin Tang Antics creates a pair of pieces that reveal an expertly executed fade of vibrant colors, one gently melding into the next. But it is the precision of the black patterning, especially on the APO Frog, that impresses the most.

SHON SIDE’s pieces

SHON SIDE‘s duo seem radically dissimilar, two species potentially devoid of shared elements. The primarily black Roadkill form feels raw and primal, its angular features built for survival in the wild, while the adorable APO Frog exudes lively color, a bell around its neck hinting at it being a pet. But closer examination grants a glimmer of connectivity between these two. The bigger sculpture, on its topmost tips as well as one knee and one foot, is adorned with subtle rainbow fades, invoking similar coloration to the smaller piece’s legs. Perhaps these two, like everything in nature, aren’t that different after all.

Zealot’s pieces

Executed with precision control by Zealot (Le Kuo), metallic hues blend idyllically across his piece’s forms while also granting a sense of machine-like imperviousness to them. While perfectly suited for Roadkill‘s shape, which is wholly decorated so, the more delicate APO Frog has this aspect tempered by a speckled pink flesh tone, vulnerability emanating from it.

Da Chai Yu Hao’s pieces

Furthering William Blake‘s assertion that one could “see a world in a grain of sand”, 大柴裕豪 (Da Chai Yu Hao) appears to be stating that we can see the universe in the shape of two frogs. Emulating the subtle color shifts of deep space on their forms, this is not a particularly original concept, though the delicately rendered planets are a wonderful touch, found floating among flecks of white and light blue to signify distant stars.

NONO’s pieces

Another stellar example of a rainbow-like array of colors being blended upon the forms, the contributions by NONO would’ve had greater impact if they hadn’t been preceeded by several works using a similar technique, but the mesmerizing coloration of the eyes alone allow these two to maintain their effectiveness.

Ninishou Workshop’s pieces

Ninishou Workshop transformed her APO Frog into the likeness of her frequent fox design, the amphibian’s blue skin beautifully encased in a sculpted coat with dangling tail element. Finished with a flowingly rendered red scarf, the hoodie itself is a marbled pattern of black, gold, and silver, a tonality similarly employed on her piece’s Roadkill counterpart.

13ART’s pieces

With a wash of inky darkness across the base of both forms, the perfectly executed grayish-white embellishments by 13ART, also known as SKULLMAN, stand prominantly out. Culminating with his signature skull-like imagery on the APO Frog‘s head, what make this work truly striking is the stances of the two components: the newly sculpted arms on the Roadkill form gently offering protection to the sitting small one inside them. Creating an atmosphere that resonates as a parent-child relationship, it is evocative without being blunt.

Mutineer Jun’s pieces

Having created a marble-like black-and-white effect across his pieces, Mutineer Jun added animal skull adornments to both works. Decorated with an elegantly illustrated bleeding heart design on the topmost piece, a sense of finality and death pervades this work, both figures still standing upright but their eyes lacking any feeling of life and their vestments being those solely of the deceased.

Momoco Studio’s pieces

Carefully creating a color matching set between their APO Frog contribution and one their own Shark Boy (2016) figures, Momoco Studio added an insect net to their anthropomorphic shark’s hand, implying that he’s helping his amphibian friend find food. And located directly behind them is a giant beetle perched atop the transformed shape of the Roadkill piece, its form expertly re-rendered as a shénmù, or divine tree.

Jane Zhigang’s pieces

Creating a surreal scene, artist 簡志剛 (Jane Zhigang) presents his Roadkill sculpture fractured into multiple pieces, a metallic sheen applied to its exterior. Standing amidst this wreckage is an APO Frog, its body augmented with an impossible array of bulging muscles, a doll-like face emerging from its stomach. And completing this wonderfully strange scene is a spoon, splotches of red across it like dallops of blood. A perplexing narrative to decipher, every viewer may take a different meaning away from this fantastical work.

BlueMoonToy’s pieces

With their exterior coated in rough texturing akin to pumice stone, the pair of pieces by BlueMoonToy have a rough-hewn statue quality to them. Of particular note are the golden eyes, the bigger form having clear, lively vision while his smaller counterpart’s appear to be covered in a film, granting a death-like stare aspect to them.

twelveDot’s pieces

The creator of these forms, twelveDot, opted to not use a Roadkill in his pairing, choosing instead to revisit his Killer Horsepower (2016) sculpture based on the same sharply angular aesthetic. It’s coloration primarily black, hints of dark blue marbled throughout, the matching tones on his accompanying APO Frog enforce a sense of similiarity between these two wildly different beasts. And by granting a slight upward tilt to the smaller piece, it appears to be attempting to lock eyes with the larger creature.

Vivian Wang’s pieces

Decorating her APO Frog in vibrantly colorful shapes reminiscent of Wassily Kandinsky more abstract works, artist Vivian Wang pairs this with a more subtle patterning on her Roadkill piece, whose coloration has the same unpredictable feel that Jackson Pollock brought to his drip paintings.

IAPO 夜婆’s pieces

Similar in concept to 大柴裕豪’s piece, this contribution by the IAPO 夜婆 artist collective depicts a nebula-like patterning on their Roadkill form, its realistic coloration tempered by childlike illustrations of rocketships, planets, and stars in pastel tones. Further balancing the darkness of the larger sculpture, their APO Frog is decorated in a beautifully simple rendition of a spacesuit, its exposed head having a wet-looking glossy finish adorning it.

The Roadkill Custom Art Show had its opening reception on Sunday, July 22nd, 2017 at 2pm at the gallery’s physical location (No. 68, Section 2, Zhongxiao East Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100).

View the gallery’s dedicated page for the exhibition

For more information on twelveDot:
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