Calendars (2020-2096) comprises of 1001 images of deserted public areas around Singapore, photographed across the span of seven years (2004-2010), and printed as pages of a calendar set in the future. Singaporean artist Heman Chong’s works are generally characterised by their sense narrative and their expression through the conceptual. Calendars is no exception even in its exploration of time, space and situation – concerns that are central to Chong’s own artistic practice.
Calendars seems extremely simplistic in its grid-like arrangement, but is a highly complex work on multiple levels. Time is a major theme in this work, announced first by the title and secondly, by the presentation. Each image is photographed in a highly objective manner, betraying none of the subjective interiorities of the artist. They instantly evoke the factual documentation of an archive – emphasized by the rules of how time is recorded in its calendar format. Yet, the chronological nature of Calendars is disrupted by the blatant disregard to time, both in the manner that the individual calendars are arranged and the way that images of the past become projected into the future.
Similarly, the artist’s decision to photograph spaces devoid of human presence in a country known for the high population density evokes a fictional post-apocalyptic world. In this way, Calendars fits well into Chong’s highly conceptualized investigations of the human condition, where he often blurs the boundaries between fiction and narrative in order to prompt the viewer into rethinking the world as they know it, and to imagine the world of the future.
Click here to see more of Heman Chong's work.
Heman Chong’s work in ‘Time of Others’ is on till 28 February 2016 at Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Road, Singapore 189555. Open Mon-Sun 10am – 7pm, Fri 10am – 9pm. Click here for more details.
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