Heman Chong

Vexillogy, Cartography and other Stories

Heman Chong/NoSleepRequired

And when this building is on fire, these flames can’t burn any higher. I turn sideways to the sun, and in a moment I am gone.

Song Lyrics from World by New Order, from their 1993 album, Republic

Heman Chong is an observer, gatherer and presenter of ideas and images. With a keen interest in the processes of visual culture, he is often able to toss his works into different configurations to suit the particular conditions of each exhibition/presentation.

The seven new works in Vexillogy, Cartography and other Stories forms a unique constellation drawn from a spectrum of different series that are currently in production within Chong’s practice. By employing this structure of presentation, he is able to suggest the connections between his work and reveal a sense of his broader artistic strategies, intellectual concerns and aesthetic adventures.

Taking one work within the exhibition as an example, Sustaining the status quote of modern living (2005, from the series F(S)lags), Chong has combined different materials and modes of display. With this performative sculpture, the viewer is confronted with a sissyphian act played out by two persons trying to build a small dune on a work table with 10,000 highly glossy cards printed on both sides with a symbolic graphic of a military insignia from Singapore and a comical alteration of it. The result of this is an image that communicates a tense relationship between the objects and the actions imposing it; somehow insisting that this image is not complete until it is fully animated with the given space and time in the exhibition, and at the same time referencing the processes of construction and destruction in our everyday lives.

"Chong is intrigued by what he calls the ‘life and times of objects’, and the narratives that these involve extend from the economic processes of production and exchange into the personalised nature of everyday consumption. The display of objects as an index of identity has been a feature of a number of the artist’s works, from the table piled with food, cigarettes and office furniture in Divided Tonight (with Corinna Kniffki, 2004) to the stacks of glasses, books and chairs in The Silver Sessions (2003). Always rigorously arranged, the objects take on an allegorical dimension that the artist calls ‘cinematic’, forming a productive tension between the real and the world of imagination and play.”

Text from Russell Storer, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney

Exhibition: 03/09/05 – 08/10/05

Ellen de Bruijne PROJECTS | Dolores
Rozengracht 207A
1016 LZ Amsterdam
The Netherlands