Heman Chong: Ifs, Ands, or ButsJan 23, 2016 - May 3, 2016

Rockbund Art Museum (20 Huqiu Road, Huang Pu District, Shanghai)
Li Qi
Heman Chong
Rockbund Art Museum
  • About the exhibition

    "Ifs, Ands, or Buts" is the first exhibition presented by Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in 2016 and the first museum solo exhibition in mainland China for Singaporean artist Heman Chong. The exhibition investigates spaces between text and images, producing new ways of relating the two through 7 new works commissioned specifically by Rockbund Art Museum.

    Heman Chong often draws references from a multitude of things that we do not usually classify within the same group. He is able to place modernist literature such as Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, alongside something as banal as Mr. Bean and The Road Runner, and even the gossip newspaper Apple Daily as if they belong together. "Ifs, Ands, or Buts" can be interpreted as a fiction which may never be put into words. A fiction that is absurd and bizarre, one that is equipped with a sardonic, black humor, where different situations find themselves misplaced in the realm between reality and fantasy.

    The exhibition begins with a site specific installation entitled Legal Bookshop (Shanghai). It involves the displacement of the gift shop with a bookshop. For this work, Chong hired Ken Liu, a lawyer who is also an award-winning author and translator of speculative fiction via email. Chong wrote, as an invitation:“I would like you to select books that touches on the idea of the law; including both fiction and non-fiction books. They can be textbooks that law students use for their studies, books that lawyers use for reference, copies of the legal acts in China, novels where characters get entangled with the law, books that touch on the history of the law, maybe even books on scientific laws. I want you to interpret the idea of ‘the law’ when you think about this list.” The choice of books is solely Liu’s. Chong’s involvement is merely to invite him to participate by selecting the books, all of which will be available for sale at this temporary bookshop.
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  • About the artist

    Heman Chong (b. 1977, Muar) is an artist and writer whose work is located at the intersection between image, performance, situations and writing. His work continuously interrogates the many functions of the production of narratives in our everyday lives. 

    Heman Chong has presented a number of solo exhibitions at South London Gallery (London, 2015), Art Sonje Center (Seoul, 2015), P! (New York, 2014), The Reading Room (Bangkok, 2013), NUS Museum (Singapore, 2012), Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou, 2007), Art in General (New York, 2007), Project Arts Centre (Dublin, 2006).

    He has also participated in numerous international biennales including 20th Sydney Biennale (Upcoming, 2016), 10th Gwangju Biennale (2014), Asia Pacific Triennale 7 (2012), Performa 11 (2011), Momentum 6 (2011), Manifesta 8 (2010), 2nd Singapore Biennale (2008), SCAPE Christchurch Biennale (2006), Busan Biennale (2004), 10th India Triennale (2000) and he represented Singapore in the 50th Venice Biennale (2003).

    Chong’s work has also been part of a number of group exhibitions at internationally recognised institutions including Tate Modern, New Museum, Monnaie de Paris, Museum fur Gewerbe und Kunst Hamburg, The National Museum of Art Osaka, Hessel Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Sharjah Art Foundation, Taipei Contemporary Art Center, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, Kumho Museum of Art, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Kroeller-Muller Museum, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Nam June Paik Art Center, Gertrude Contemporary, Arnolfini, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Hamburger Bahnhof, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Kadist Art Foundation, Daejeon Museum of Art. 
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  • About the curator

    Li Qi is Senior Curator at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai. He was Opinions Editor at The Art Newspaper China and Senior Editor at LEAP, where he currently serves as a contributing editor. He was a jury member of the 2015 Hugo Boss Asia Art Award for Emerging Asian Artists. In 2014, Li Qi curated “CONDITIONS: An Exhibition of Queer Art”, at club Destination, Beijing. Li Qi graduated from Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), and from London’s Chelsea College of Art and Design. He has worked at institutions such as the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing and the British Film Institute (BFI) in London.

  • About Ken Liu, Collaborator of Legal Bookshop (Shanghai)

    Ken Liu is an author and translator of speculative fiction, as well as a lawyer and programmer. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards, he has been published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among other places. He also translated the Hugo-winning novel, The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin, which is the first translated novel to win that award.

    Ken’s debut novel, The Grace of Kings, the first in a silkpunk epic fantasy series, was published by Saga Press in April 2015. Saga will also publish a collection of his short stories, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, in March 2016.

    After receiving his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, Ken clerked for the Honorable Sandra L. Lynch on the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals. Thereafter, he joined a major corporate law firm in Boston, specializing in tax and real estate matters. Currently, he works as a litigation consultant for intellectual property cases, combining his skills as a lawyer and as a programmer. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.

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