Analects of Kung Phu: Book 1, The 69 Dialogues between the Lamp and the Shadow

Australia, 2021

Jason Phu
Three-channel video installation, 85 mins.
Edited by Conor Bateman
Mordant Family Moving Image Commission, ACMI Collection

Artwork ACMI commissions

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“I want to create something that is genuinely useful but is also aware of its own representational fallacies and historical inaccuracies. I hope that people notice the highly personal nature of this work and feel inspired to make their own compendium of sayings to guide their own lives.” – Jason Phu

During times of uncertainty, people look for guidance. Jason Phu found it in martial arts films. By reclaiming wise sayings from movies and TV shows like Drunken Master (1978) and Avatar the Last Airbender (2005–08), Analects of Kung Phu presents a moving image philosophy for surviving contemporary life. Taught by action stars but inspired by classic Chinese texts like Lao Zi’s Dao De Jing, he questions whether these life lessons are genuinely useful. Phu is aware of how wisdom can be oversimplified and misused, how film subtitles miss the mark or even present a completely different narrative, and how we are guided in our day-to-day life by the movies we watch.

Leading Melbourne-based visual artist Jason Phu’s multi-disciplinary practice includes printmaking, installation, painting and video. Born in 1989 in Sydney, Australia, Phu lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Phu’s artworks often explore Chinese histories in Australia, his own family history, and Chinese/Vietnamese folktales.

Jason Phu is the 2021 recipient of the Mordant Family Moving Image Commission for young Australian artists.

Read more

More than 200 kung fu films later, Jason Phu had his own movie to make by Kerrie O’Brien

My parents met at the fish market by Jason Phu in The Lifted Brow

Interview #34 — Jason Phu by Sophia Cai in Liminal

Storytelling with Jason Phu by Sabina McKenna in Acclaim

Who is Jason Phu? by Jane Albert in Broadsheet

Jason Phu and editor Conor Bateman talk to curator Chelsey O’Brien about the martial arts films that feature in 'Analects of Kung Phu: Book 1, The 69 Dialogues between the Lamp and the Shadow'

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If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url= |title=Analects of Kung Phu: Book 1, The 69 Dialogues between the Lamp and the Shadow |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=15 June 2024 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}