WONG Hoy Cheong | Art Basel HK

For our booth in 2018, we will present the solo exhibition of Malaysia artist Wong Hoy Cheong, featuring works by WONG from 1999 up to 2015. In addition to providing a more comprehensive understanding of WONG’s works, this exhibition could perhaps act as a mirror for us, as Asians, to look back to the past, to understand the present and envision the future.

  • Exhibition Period:28 Mar 2018 – 31 Mar 2018
  • Address:Booth:1D11 Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
  • Opening Hours:Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 5pm to 9pm

For our booth in 2018, we will present the solo exhibition of Malaysia artist Wong Hoy Cheong, featuring works by WONG from 1999 up to 2015. In addition to providing a more comprehensive understanding of WONG’s works, this exhibition could perhaps act as a mirror for us, as Asians, to look back to the past, to understand the present and envision the future.

The exhibition will begin from “The Definitive ABC of Government and The Definitive ABC of Ethnography” (1999). The work consists of two hand-made alphabet books made from torn pages/text and blended pulp of four books. The destruction of books in effect also deconstructs the claims to definitions, truths and propaganda as these ABC books are meant to compile and authoritatively offer.

“Maid in Malaysia” (2008) consists of 10 photographs with scenes of foreign maids in the context of the families they work for. The images show re-imagined superheroes and pop icons such as Supergirl flying a child to school; Storm calling heavy rain to wash the car, etc. Named after a soap opera in USA, “Days of Our Lives” (2009) is a series of photographs based on a selection of French paintings depicting domestic scenes; These works transpose marginalized migrant communities into the centre of Western culture, thus reimagining a new European-ness and Western-ness.

During World War II, Malaya was occupied by the Japanese and a total of about 450,000 Malayans were killed; video work “Doghole” (2010) explores memory and history of human resilience and indiscrimination in times of war. This film is based on an interview with Wong Kum Peng, a survivor of the much-feared Kempeitai detention cells; While taking the format of news and documentaries, the video work “Re: Looking” (2002) fabricates an imaginary history. The artist invites us to guess what if Malaysia had been a powerful colonizing empire and had seized a European nation, for example, Austria?

The most recent work will be “UnCover” (2015), originally commissioned by Ural Industrial Biennial. Choosing the manholes at politically-alerting places in Ekaterinburg, Russia, artist uses photographs and wax rubbings to represent the images under and above the manholes, revealing parallel worlds that are mutually referencing.

WONG Hoy Cheong

WONG Hoy Cheong was born in 1960 in George Town in Penang, Malaysia. He studied literature, education and fine arts at Brandeis University, Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in the USA. WONG is currently based in Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor, Malaysia.

WONG’s intellectual and academic background began in the field of literature rather than fine art, which serves as an explanation for his continuous fascination for scholarship and rhetoric shown in his works.

Underlying WONG’s playfulness is a serious inquiry into Asian and world history, society and politics as seen through the lens of Malaysia’s colonial and post-colonial experience. His has sought to disturb our sense of security, reminding us of the slipperiness that lies between fact and fiction, past and present, and the perpetual reinvention of our own histories.

WONG is an artist unrestricted by style or medium, his diverse education background led to his inter-disciplinary works, involving areas such as drawing, installation, photography, theater/performance and video; and has explored the interrelationship of history, politics, culture and ethnicity.

WONG was awarded by The Rockefeller Foundation with the Bellagio Creative Arts Fellows in 2011. In 2000, Newsweek (International) named him as one of the 10 trailblazers of Asia under the title “Mavericks & Rebels”. In 1999, Asiaweek named him as one of the10 art and culture “Leaders of the Next Millennium”. Deutsche Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany collects his work and has a floor named after him. Cornell University even has a scholarship – “H. C. Wong Scholarship” – named after him for his work as “Outstanding Educator.”