Hong Kong artist Stanley Wong explores the subject of home, identity and values in his latest exhibition “Show Flat 04”, currently held in Singapore at Third-Floor – Hermes.
14 October, 2013
‘And once I had recognised the taste of the crumb of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-flowers which my aunt used to give me (although I did not yet know and must long postpone the discovery of why this memory made me so happy) immediately the old grey house upon the street, where her room was, rose up like the scenery of a theatre…’ – Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past.
In Stanley Wong’s apartment installation “Show Flat 04”, visitors are invited to take comfort in the familiar where, alluding to the episode of the madeleine from Proust’s epic novel, Wong reflects on the power of memory to trigger extraordinary feelings of love and joy from ordinary objects and experiences.
The quirky apartment interior features everyday objects and furniture in red-white-blue striped tarpaulin, a motif and fabric that has long shared a common thread with the stories and lives of the people of Hong Kong. A metaphor of resilience, the ubiquitous and humble material has many applications – as construction canopies for example, and as a cover for market stalls.
“Show Flat 04” is not a message about Hong Kong however. Wong explains that while installation 01 to 03 were driven by the message of family, and “the idea of the people of Hong Kong being united as one family”, Show Flat 04 “is about a universal issue of identity and whose home this is”.
Wong goes on to describe the “Show Flat 04” installation as “a collection that travels through eras”.
“You have a nod to the ‘50s with the folding bed, to the modern day with the sofa from Ikea that has been covered in Red, White and Blue,” says Wong.
“Some objects are from previous installations. For instance, the vases, which take their shape from classical Ming porcelain, were [first] seen in Canada. The painting, “Red”, which hangs on the back wall behind the sofa, was done more than ten years ago and features a strip of red tarpaulin found at construction sites of every district in Hong Kong. The window frames are very traditional in the Chinese style, with the exception of one, which is more colonial/Western. The flags, however, are new and specific to Third Floor – Hermès.”
Wong continues, “In the second room, I put up national flags related to the Red-White-Blue pattern and colour. It was a way to engage the audience and invite them to respond to the question, ‘Whose home is this?’
“There was also a book created in this Red-White-Blue [apartment], for visitors to write down their opinions… Some say, ‘I think it’s very French!’ and of course, Americans say, ‘It belongs to the US!’.”
“Show Flat 04” is on from now till 10 November 2013 at Third Floor – Hermès, 541 Orchard Road, Liat Towers. Hours: 10.30am to 7.30pm daily. Admission is free.
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