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A day with... an Artist: Ming Wong


A day with... an Artist: Ming Wong


“Western films exist as an extension of photography, whereas Japanese films are more extensions of Kabuki, Noh, and other traditional performing arts”.

Born in Singapore in 1971, Ming Wong is currently based in Berlin. He is known for his unique artistic approach, in which he places himself into reconstructions of emblematic masterpieces of World Cinema. For this exhibition, Ming Wong presents his first work created while living in Japan, Me in Me, comprised of a series of short films inspired by Japanese film and traditional performing arts. In Me in Me, Ming Wong classifies Japanese films into the three genres of “historical”, “modern” and “animated” and in the various scenes attempts to recreate the archetypal characters of each. Playing all of these characters himself, he uses the distinctive performance, camera work, and narrative-setting of these three cinematic worlds to express representative aspects of Japanese film.

~ Excerpt from Me in Me catalogue, foreword by the Shiseido Corporate Culture Department


What are you showing in Art Basel? Tell us more about this work.
I’ve been selected to exhibit in Art Unlimited, which is the curated section of Art Basel, of individual art works, not in a booth like the fair section, it takes up an entire hall itself. I`m showing ‘Me in Me’ a 3 channel video installation I did last year for Shiseido Gallery in Tokyo who commissioned it. It’s inspired by Japanese cinema history and presents my depiction of 3 heroines from 3 different eras – the classical, the modern and the future. In it I try my best to speak Japanese and to become these archetypal Japanese characters.

What is your typical art fair routine? What is the first thing you do when you enter the hall?
I don’t really have a routine, I just go where my mood and my instinct takes me. I like to be surprised, as sometimes you see similar works by the same artists in different galleries, but I’m drawn to what makes me look twice.

Any particular artists or galleries you are looking forward to see?
Actually, I like a particular Mexican gallery…

It can be daunting or overwhelming to see so much art, what are your top 3 tips for new fair-goers?
Take your time, you can’t see everything. Go with a trusted and fun companion and wear good, beautiful shoes.

What do you like or dislike most about art fairs? 
It’s a form of social theatre, it’s fascinating to observe human behaviour. I would like to go in disguise, and gawk at other people.

Favourite bar or restaurant(in Basel) after visiting the fair?
Gate crash a party or another opening reception. 

During this time in Basel, what are the must-see art; special events or exhibitions we shouldn’t miss? 
Ming Wong at Art Unlimited of course.

For more information on this work, please visit:
Art Basel opens from 19 – 22 June 2014


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