THE DAZZLING BLACK
CURATED BY CHELSEA QIANXI LIU
More than in just taking photos himself, Wong Wingsang is interested in the way in which we acquire, read and share images. An expression of extreme sensitivity to the surrounding world, full of emotions and restraint, runs through each of his works. Those Days comprises of more than a hundred photos of Hong Kong local news anchors, each dated consistently. Every day over the course of a year, the artist has captured the expression of the same anchor between each piece of news, and observed these microscopic images of a standard image as a kind of “study”. To Memorize A Tree comprises of photos of each leaf of a felled tree. Is recording something once existing but no longer present “in vain”? Yet these leaves have lived a very different existence to our own, and cannot communicate without us. In The Length Of A Day, Wong collected photos posted by others online of the day a friend committed suicide, and arranged them in chronological order as a “real-time” picture. When we look at this image, we seem to enter a time and space world in parallel with that day. Similarly, Impression Dusk collects photos of sunsets taken by people at different times and locations, splices them together into a scene of infinite duration. Using a myriad of still life images to form a slow-moving image, are we in fact returning to the most essential property of the image?
The internet and reality, the individual and the collective, the static and the flowing, Wong Wingsang's creations persist in trying to capture time with images - this fleeting existence, and the attempts behind the action of photographing and the desire to leave something behind. However, the reality seems to prove that it is all in vain. Just as you can never know what your friends are thinking about when they choose to commit suicide, you can never penetrate the screen to understand what happens when the anchor, as an “actor,” recognizes each piece of news (maybe half a second ahead of the audience). We can see the difference between the real reaction to the news and the professional take. Is the viewer always separated from the person who takes the photo by an uncrossable or unfillable gap?
Wong Wingsang, Impression Dusk, 2018. Single channel video, color. Courtesy of the artist
Wong Wingsang, To Memorize a Tree, 2018. Acid-free giclee print, tree branch, dimension variable. Courtesy of the artist
Wong Wingsang, Those Days, 2017. Acid-free giclee print, dimension variable. Courtesy of the artist
Wong Wingsang, The Length of A Day, 2017. Single channel video, color, sound (86400’’). Courtesy of the artist