Through performance, video and installation, Ming Wong (*1971, Singapore) revisits a singular history of cinema by reenacting classic movies such as the ones by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Douglas Sirk or Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Originally from Singapore, based in Berlin, Ming Wong reactivates the violence of social, racial and sexual questions contained in these movies by a meticulous work of reenactment and mismatch that plays with the reminiscent memories contained in the collective memory. In addition to the racial transposition, Ming Wong questions the construction of gender and does not hesitate to interpret female roles or to invite male performers to portray women characters.
In « Making Chinatown » (2012), Ming Wong takes the part played by Faye Dunaway or the one of Jack Nicholson in a reinterpretation of Roman Polanski’s « Chinatown ». In the video installation « Life of Imitation » (2009), the artist moves the North American racial tension of Douglas Sirk’s famous movie « Imitation of Life » (1958) in the context of South East Asia. The actors are from different ethnic groups present in Singapore and portray the parts of black and white female characters from the original film. Furthermore, the women characters are interpreted by men in Wong’s version. In addition to producing the films in video, he constructs decors and promotional elements such as advertisement panels that evoke the marketing surrounding American cinema.
Quoting the tradition of performance art, Ming Wong also works on language by learning the original language of the films he attempts to appropriate. The dialogues of « Devo partire. Domani » (2010), a tribute to « Teorema » (1968) by Pier Paolo Pasoloni, are in Italian, are in Italian, and those of « Angst Essen » (2008) are in German as in the movie « Angst essen Seele auf » by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, which he reenacts.
Ming Wong has exhibited his work at the Venice Biennale in 2009 where he received the Special Mention. He has also regularly exhibits his work in Europe, America and Asia in contexts such as Performa 11 in New York in 2011 and this year at the Lyon Biennale. This monographic exhibition constitutes the first presentation of his work in Switzerland.
Curator : Denis Pernet
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