Days of Our Lives: Wong Hoy Cheong Selected Works 1998-2010

Days of Our Lives: Wong Hoy Cheong Selected Works 1998-2010

Exhibition Period
25 Dec 2010 - 23 Jan 2011
ESLITE GALLERY∣5F, No. 11, Songgao Rd., Taipei 11073, Taiwan
Opening Hours
25 Dec 2010

As an artist, WONG Hoy Cheong is interested in the waves of migration and globalization that have swept the world from time immemorial; the retrieval of marginalized and forgotten stories drowned in the grand narrative of history and nation states; unraveling the slippery boundaries between past and present, fact and fiction, language and image. He chose the title “Days of Our Lives” for this exhibition because, like a TV soap opera, the exhibition dives into narratives and transforms the ordinary into suspense; it makes the mundane luring. With this exhibition, WONG Hoy Cheong hopes to draw one into experiencing ordinary details; into trawling up memories and the imagination; into pondering on yesterday, today and even tomorrow. In a world drunk on instantaneity, speed and pulsating images, much of memory and reflection are lost – it is hoped that this exhibition can provide that counterpoint of reflexivity.

Approximately 10 works will be included in this exhibition. To name a few highlights: Maid in Malaysia (2008) consists of 10 tableaux vivant with scenes of foreign maids in the context of the Malaysian families they work for. The images show re-imagined superheroes and pop icons such as Supergirl flying a child to school, Florence Nightingale taking care of the old and sick, Anna, the governess, giving tuition to the “king’s” children, etc. Tapestry (1998-2004) consists of approximately 15,000 thumbprints collected from individuals on tracing paper which are linked by various National flowers/petals and trees/leaves. The thumbprints are collected like a petition for the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in Malaysia, a draconian and archaic law which allows for preventive detention without trial in an open court of law. The tapestry is fragile and translucent, just like human and civil rights. Doghole (2010) explores memory and history, a proverbial story of human resilience and indiscrimination in times of war. During World War II, Malaya was occupied by the Japanese. A total of about 450,000 Malayans were killed. This film is based on an interview with Wong Kum Peng, a survivor of the much-feared Kempeitai detention cells.

Born in Georgetown, Malaysia in 1960, WONG Hoy Cheong creates inter-disciplinary work involving areas such as drawing, installation, theatre/performance and video. He has been shown in Taiwan several times previously at Taipei MOCA (2006), Taipei Biennale (2008) and more. His work often touches upon solemn issues involving minorities, politics, human rights, post-colonialism and history, yet poignantly shines through with humor, satire, compassion and hope. Sharing similar painful colonial history and struggle for democracy with Malaysia, Taiwanese audience often find a certain resonance in viewing WONG’s works. In addition to providing a more comprehensive understanding of WONG’s works, this small retrospective exhibition could perhaps act as a mirror for us, as Asians, to look back to the past, understand the present and envision the future.

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.”

1986        Master of Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA
1984        Master in Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
1982        Bachelor of Arts (Magna cum Laude with Honors), Brandeis University, Waltham, USA
2010        "Days of Our Lives: Wong Hoy Cheong Selected Works 1998-2010", ESLITE GALLERY,

                Taipei, Taiwan
2008        "Wong Hoy Cheong 2002-2007", NUS Museum & Gallery, Singapore
2006        "Bound for Glory", Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2004        "Selected Works 1984-2004", National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
               "Re:Looking", Alexander Ochs Galleries, Berlin, Germany
               "slight shifts", Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, UK
2003        "fact-fiction", Kunsthalle, Vienna, Austria
               "Selected Works 1994-2002", Djanogaly Gallery, Nottingham; Organisation for Visual Arts,

                London, UK
2002        "Selected Works 1994-2002", John Hansard Gallery, Southampton;  Organisation for Visual

                Arts, London, UK
               "Selected Works 1994-2002", Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool / Organisation for Visual Arts,

                London, UK
               "Whose text?", Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1999        "Seeds of Change", Habitat, London, UK
1996        "Of Migrants and Rubber Trees: Drawings and Installations", Creative Centre, National

                Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2010        "Culture(S) of Copy", Goethe Institute, Hong Kong / Edith Russ Site for Media Art,

                Oldenburg, Germany
               "Unreal Asia", Zürcher Theater Spektakel, Zurich, Switzerland
2009        "Code Sharing", Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
               "55th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen: Unreal Asia", Oberhausen, Germany
               "Magnetic Power", Coreana Museum of Art & other galleries, Seoul, Korea
               "4th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial", Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan
               "10th Lyon Biennale", Lyon, France
               "Non Everyday: Hidden Force Fields", Hong Gah Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
2008        "Orienting Istanbul", College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley, USA
                Taipei Biennial 2008, Museum of Fine Arts & other venues, Taipei, Taiwan
               "Coffee, Cigarettes and Pad Thai: Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia", ESLITE GALLERY,

                Taipei, Taiwan
               "The Independence Project", Gertrude Contemporary Space, Melbourne, Australia / Petronas

                Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2007        Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey
                Print Basel, Basel, Switzerland
               "Koloniale Träume - Autonome Zonen", Graz, Austria
2006        "Naked Life", Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan
               "Asian Contemporary Art in Print", Asia Society Gallery, New York City / Tyler Print

                Institute, Singapore
2005        Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China 
               "Colonialism without Colonies?", Shedhalle, Zurich, Switzerland
               "Contact", Le Lieu Unique, Nantes, France
               "Strategy", Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
2004        "Ethnic Marketing", Center for Contemporary Art, Geneva, Switzerland
               "Minority Report", Aarhus Art Building, Aarhus, Denmark
                Art Forum, Berlin, Germany
               "Liverpool Biennial", Liverpool, UK
               "Asian Traffic", Gallery 4A, Sydney, Australia
               "SHAKE", OK Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria / Villa Arson, Nice, France
2003        "Cam-taten", Kunstraum, Linz, Austria
               "Dreams and Conflicts (Z.O.U. and Utopia Station)", 50th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
               "handlungsanweisungen - instructions for actions", Kunsthalle, Vienna, Austria
2002        "The Spice Route", ifa Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany
               "Identities: Who We Are", National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
               "Refuge", Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway
               "Asian Party Global Game (curated project)", ARCO, Madrid, Spain
2001        "ARS 01", KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland
               "Flashpoint", Rimbun Dahan Gallery, Sungai Buloh, Malaysia
               "Headlights", Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2000        "Overtag", BildMuseet, Umea, Sweden
               "Lines of Descent", Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia (touring exhibtion)
               "La Ville, Le Jardin, La Memoire", Villa Medici, Rome, Italy
               "Poisonous Targets (2-persons show)", Gallery 4A, Sydney, Australia
               "Mutations / Urban Rumours", Fri-Art Contemporary Art Centre, Fribourg, Switzerland
               "Invisible Boundary", Utsonomiya Museum of Art, Utsonomiya, Japan
                3rd Kwangju Biennale, Kwangju, Korea
1999        "Time for Tea", National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
               "babel", Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK
               "Sogni / Dreams", Fondazine Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Per L' latre, Torino; Venice Biennale,

                Venice, Italy
               "Cities on the Move 5", Hayward Gallery, London, UK
                1st Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial, Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan
               "Cities on the Move 4", Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark
               "Intervention", Museum-in-Progress, Vienna, Austria
1998        "Siapa? Apa? Kenapa?", Artis Pro Activ, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
               "Schools: Textual Works", Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
               "Cities on The Move 2", CapcMusee d’art Contemporain, Bordeaux, France
               "Rupa Malaysia", Brunei Gallery, London, UK / National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1997        "Cities on The Move", The Secession, Vienna, Austria 
               "Art in Southeast Asia: Glimpses into the Future", Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan

                (touring exhibition)
1996        "Imagining the Contemporary Body: Malaysia, Philippines & Singapore", Petronas Gallery,

                Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
               "2nd Asia-Pacific Triennial", Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
1995        "Visions of Happiness: 10 Contemporary Asian Artists", Japan Foundation Forum Gallery,

                Tokyo, Japan
Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan 
ArtNow International, San Francisco, USA
Canberra Institute of Art, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Deutsche Bank Collection, Germany
Fondazione Cassa Di Risparmio Di Modena, Modena, Italy
KLM, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, France
National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
National Bank, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA


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