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Screenprint and acrylic on linen
Dimensions: 46cm (H) x 61cm (W) x 3.8cm (D) / 18.1" (H) x 24" (W) x 1.5" (D)
Note: Actual colours may vary due to photography & computer settings.
While on residency at STPI in 2020, Heman Chong read. He read and then he redacted page after page of John le Carré’s book Call For The Dead. The artist erased everything except for the verbs, leaving behind decontextualised traces of something that happened.
Published in 1961, Call For The Dead was le Carré’s first novel. Le Carré is a British author known for his espionage novels. Critical of Cold War espionage, his stories painted spies as morally compromised bureaucrats. Like his work, John le Carré is a fiction, a pen name. The author, David Cornwell, was a spy. Cornwell worked for Britain's domestic intelligence service, MI5, and its foreign intelligence service, MI6.
Visualising redactions monumentalise the act of censorship. It represents the underlying power relations between redactor, imbued often with state power, and the reader. The more extensive the redaction, the larger the secret and the more authoritative the redactor.
Consisting of 83 silkscreen prints that cover the walls of a gallery within STPI, Chong’s repeated bureaucratic performance of running a thick line of ink to blot out text imply that le Carré’s novel holds enough secrets to fill a room.
Based in: Singapore
Heman Chong is an artist, curator and writer. He received his M.A in Communication Art & Design from The Royal College of Art, London in 2002. His conceptually-charged investigations into how individuals and communities imagine the future generates a multiplicity of objects, images, installations, situations and texts.
In 2006, he produced a writing workshop with Leif Magne Tangen at Project Arts Center in Dublin where they co-authored "PHILIP", a science fiction novel, with Mark Aerial Waller, Cosmin Costinas, Rosemary Heather, Francis McKee, David Reinfurt and Steve Rushton.
The artist has developed solo exhibitions at FOST (Singapore), Michael Janssen (Singapore), The Reading Room (Bangkok), Future Perfect (Singapore), Wilkinson (London), Rossi & Rossi (London/Hong Kong), SOTA Gallery (Singapore), NUS Museum (Singapore), Kunstverein Milano (Milan), Motive Gallery (Amsterdam), Hermes Third Floor (Singapore), Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou), Art In General (New York), Project Arts Centre (Dublin), Ellen de Bruijne Projects (Amsterdam), The Substation (Singapore), Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin), Sparwasser HQ (Berlin).
His work has also been shown extensively in group exhibitions including De Appel Arts Centre, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Sharjah Art Foundation, Taipei Contemporary Art Center, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, Kumho Museum of Art, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Kroeller-Muller Museum, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Nam June Paik Art Center, Gertrude Contemporary, Arnolfini, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Hamburger Bahnhof, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Kadist Art Foundation, Daejeon Museum of Art.
He has participated in numerous international biennales including 10th Gwangju Biennale (2014), Asia Pacific Triennale 7 (2012), Performa 11 (2011), Momentum 6 (2011), Manifesta 8 (2010), 2nd Singapore Biennale (2008), SCAPE Christchurch Biennale (2006), Busan Biennale (2004), 10th India Triennale( 2000) and represented Singapore in the 50th Venice Biennale (2003).
His work has been featured prominently in A Prior, ArtAsiaPacific, Artforum International, ArtInfo, Art-iT, Art Lies, Frieze, LEAP, SITE and Visionaire.
Heman Chong is represented by Rossi & Rossi (London/HK), Vitamin Creative Space (Beijing/Guangzhou) and Wilkinson Gallery (London)
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