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A day with... an Artist: John Clang


A day with... an Artist: John Clang
The Impermanence, 2014. John Clang. Photo from Pékin Fine Arts.

A day with… an Artist

John Clang
Artist, Singapore

John Clang is a photographer and visual artist. In 2010, he became the first photographer in Singapore to receive the President’s Designer of the Year award – the most prestigious design accolade in Singapore. He was also selected by a panel of jury as one of 30 finalists for the 2010 Sovereign Asian Art Prize.

Clang resonates with subject matters closely related to his daily life. He often dwells upon urban and contemporary themes and landscapes; be in estrangement and intimacy in an urban space or our sense of identity and place in this world.

His images express an organic and poetic response to the nuanced shifts in his environment. His oeuvre reads like a visual diary, documenting his personal growth and critical thinking processes. Many of his series narrate his inner landscape and emotional conflicts, specifically the themes of memory, identity and longing as a Singaporean in New York separated from his family.

What is your typical art fair routine? What is the first thing you do when you enter the hall?
The first thing I will do when entering an art fair is to do a brisk walk and get a general orientation and impression of the space and work. I usually start turning left.

Any particular artists or galleries you are looking forward to see?
I don’t particular look forward to seeing any galleries or and artists work in an art fair as I much prefer their presentation in their gallery setting. In the art fair, I’m more interested to see if I feel any distancing after looking at the same piece of work in an art fair setting.

It can be daunting or overwhelming to see so much art, give us your top 3 tips - how to tackle an art fair.
Good shoes for the Concrete floor, lots of Hydration and check out works that quietly sit there, without much gimmicks and one may be highly rewarded.

What do you like or dislike most about art fairs? 
Art fairs are important for the health of overall art industry and much fun and possible fruitful trip for many collectors but at the same time, as an artist, art fairs can kill the fantasy and dreams. I’m not exactly sure if it is the right venue I would like my work introduce to the audience.

Favourite bar or restaurant after a hard day’s work visiting the fair and galleries?
Always ask the local galleries and artists, you will be surprised how intensely helpful they can be when it comes to food.

During this time in HK, what are the must-see art; any special events or exhibitions we shouldn’t miss?
I would definitely check out all the galleries at Wong Chuk Hang/ Aberdeen area. This reminds me of the sprouting galleries at Lower Eastside in NYC. Other than the arts, you get to experience interesting buildings that you won’t visit otherwise.


Time Traveler, 2014. John Clang. Photo from Pékin Fine Arts

John Clang: (Re)Contextualizing My Mind
Opening on May 8 (Thurs), from 5pm. Pékin Fine Arts 
Union Industrial Building, 48 Wong Chuk Hang Road, 16/F, Aberdeen, Hong Kong


Interviewed by Ning Chong


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