The New Museum NYC presents Wong Ping: Your Silent Neighbor. This is the first American survey of a Hong Kong artist.
For the past ten years, Ping Wong has developed a very personal animation style, self-taught to create stories of individual desires, social pressures, and political upheaval.
Before his colorful and sometimes disturbing stories from life in Hong Kong caught the attention of the art world, the artist worked in the broadcast and commercial animation industries.
Although Ping’s art may resemble children’s cartoons, Wong’s work emerges from his own written stories and magazines, revealing the aspirations and anxieties of ordinary Hong Kongers through surreal narratives and a bizarre selection of anthropomorphic characters.
Filling the New Museum’s Third Floor galleries, this exhibition brings together a selection of Wong’s new and recent work from his experimental work, including Jungle of Desires (2015), a video that tells the story of a housewife-turned-sex worker who trades with her for a policeman’s client under a voyeur is watched by her husband.
Other early Ping Wong works on the show include Who’s Daddy ?, A Tale of Love and Fatherhood in the Digital Age; and Wong Ping’s Fables 2 (2019), the second of which Wong looks at traditional tales in which a wide variety of creatures learn valuable lessons about life in the complex socio-political landscape of modern Hong Kong.
The first of Wong’s fables premiered at the 2018 Triennial: Songs to Sabotage at the New Museum. As part of the presentation, the debut of a new video and photo wallpaper by the artist, ordered for the exhibition, will take place.
The exhibition in The New Museum of Art is curated by Gary Carrion-Murajari, curator of the Kraus family, and Francesca Altamura, former curator’s assistant.
Vivid installations spanning three dimensions of the artist’s fantasy animation world are just the cornerstones of the artist’s practice of combining brutality and colorfulness to create a discourse about repressed sexuality, personal feelings, and political constraints. Wong Ping discusses his observations of society in a visual language that borders on shocking and funny.
Wong Ping’s animation work goes through the concept of control or limitation. In a sexual sense, Wong introduces the poles of desire and obsession by animating, illustrating, and describing actions or scenarios that are brutally honest or truly constitute our personal “evil” shame.
Indeed, aside from the film’s poppy look, the animation seems to reflect Hong Kong’s changing status quo and present a somewhat somber outlook.
This kind of humor mixed with fatigue can be found in other films, such as The Nose of Emotions (2016), which tells the story of a man’s heart-shaped nose that moves away from his face with every negative thought. Like Pinocchio’s “lying nose”, a man begins as one with his friend: he communicates, enjoys the little things of life from watching movies to meeting women.
However, the nose pushes back with every harmful thought until the narrator can no longer see it, but only indirectly sniffs and thus “experiences” it, leaving him behind to become a social outcast or “emo”.
Ultimately, however, Wong’s animation shouldn’t be discouraging. They are happy despite their fantastic scenarios and looks, albeit in a twisted but realistic manner.
They also provide a sense of comfort with their rudeness, as even our most intimate and personal feelings or actions are shared by others. Thus, Wong’s work is liberating – a cleansing twist in trials rooted in everyday life.
Ping Wong, one of Hong Kong’s brightest emerging artists, has received commissions from major organizations including ICA Miami, Kunsthalle Basel, Guggenheim, M +, and NOWNESS. The artist has held solo exhibitions at major institutions including:
- the Pompidou Center;
- ICA Miami, Camden Arts Center;
- Kunsthalle Basel.
And he also participated in major international exhibitions at MUDAM Luxembourg, OGR Torino, Guggenheim Museum, New Museum Triennial, Ural Industrial Biennale, and others. His animated films have been featured in numerous film festivals around the world, including the famous Rotterdam Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, and Kino der Kunst.