Richard Koh Fine Art is pleased to announce a solo exhibition #Impetus# by Wong Perng Fey

General Press Releases Wednesday January 3, 2018 16:48
Bangkok--3 Jan--TQPR
I M P E T U S   By WONG PERNG FEY 6 – 20 January 2018   Richard Koh Fine Art 229, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar 59100, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Richard Koh Fine Art32is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by32Wong Perng Fey32at Richard Koh Fine Art,32229, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar 59100, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.32 The exhibition, entitled32Impetus, is the artist's restitution to Malaysia and his fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.32The exhibition is scheduled to run from326 - 20 January 201832and will present 6 large paneled pieces produced during his eviction and closure of Hei Qiao village, Beijing where the artist had32resided for 7 years. The Opening Reception will take place on Saturday, 6 January 2018, from 5 – 8pm.

32           Drift (n)
-1. a driving movement or force; impulse; impetus; pressure
-2. a meaning; intent; purport
-3. overbearing power or influence
-4. the course along which something moves; tendency; aim
-5. a force that moves something along
Change (v)
-1. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone
-2. to cause to be different
-3. to give a completely different form or appearance to; transform
-4. to give and receive reciprocally; interchange
I arrived Beijing in 2010. Having lived for two weeks in a friend's
studio located within a factory compound near 798 art district, he
soon found me a studio in an artist village known as Hei Qiao. And
so, my life as an artist in Hei Qiao art district began. Hei Qiao was a
village comprised of warehouse-like studios with an estimate of over
2000 artists working and living within the surrounding area. This was
where I began to drift along with other artists from various parts of
China and the world.

Living in Hei Qiao amongst other artists is a vigorous and an exciting   experience. The nights are extremely dark, faintly lit by the fire from   the distant rubbish dump, the fire set ablaze flickers through a fog of thick black smoke, allowing a hint of the road and distance travelled. Bottles of cheap Bai Jiu (hard liquour made of rice grain) are passed amongst artists during our evening conventions, a meeting that takes place almost every evening. Paired with spicy and oily food, we toss our heads back while we bottoms up, emptying the liquor contents in these tiny glasses effortlessly. Not only does Bai Jiu warm our bodies for the colder nights, it serves essentially to elevate our moods. Some artists would begin to strike up a tune, playing the hand drums and string instruments, and soon friends and neighbours would congregate as the music and singing got louder. The clinking of liqour glasses would continue through the night until the bottles were drained or until everyone was passed out.

During the daytime, when not hungover from previous night's drinking, I would paint. I know my neighbours and other artists would be doing the same. There was a sense of community, a sense of purpose. In March, the North wind would blow through Beijing, and of course, through the entire village, stirring sand and plastic bags up in the air in swirls. With the wind gustling and howling, beating against the metal doors and rattling the roof of my studio, all I could do was paint. I'd paint while wrapped up in a cheap woolen jacket bought from the local market. The others next door, in the next courtyard and the next compound might very well be doing the same. Perhaps they were dipping their brushes into the oil, or pressing their hands into moulding clay sculptures, or perhaps shaping metal or wood for their installations. We knew what we were here to do, or maybe we did not. The association of hundreds of other artists within the same place pursuing the same path gave everyone a sense of belonging. It made the lonesome life of surviving the harsh Beijing weather less so. Some artists might sometimes feel disillusioned, at times beaten by reality; yet when the evenings come by, friends would join in as spirits are reinforced with the Bai Jiu bottle being passed around again. Their will strengthened once again as the music and singing commences well into our tomorrows.

Over the years in Hei Qiao, many had come and gone. Some got famous, while some went home. This village, a short drive away from 798 art district, was where many could call home after setting their foot in Beijing. Myself included. Migrant workers from rural provinces would be renting rooms side by side the artists' studio warehouses. As demand for rooms skyrocketed, illegal structures were added onto the existing building structures to accommodate them. This very village, one that is dirty and stank a foul smell of rubbish scattered everywhere, was where I spent the past 7 years of my life. This period of time had changed me, it left a pivotal mark inside of me.

In China, changes are often, constant and inevitable, and it arrived at the gates of Hei Qiao one day. We had received news that Hei Qiao would be demolished. We were told to find new spaces elsewhere. The exodus of artists began shortly. As most began to move into new spaces within other villages or art districts further away, I felt an emotion stirring deep within, temporarily sedated with the sense of indifference after years of witnessing displacement and migration. It was as if my heart had gone numb after years of witnessing the many evictions and demolitions.

32 As days passed, I began to remove completed works from   my studio wall. I worked slowly, dismantling partitions that sectioned my studio spaces. I sent my paintings to the framers to be packed into wooden crates, ready for a move- out. Having cleared off bulks of paintings and partitions, the   space that was once filled to the roof was now empty. The studio space, in becoming empty again, provoked a deep sense of nostalgia that caught me by surprise. Calling me back into the days forgotten, I started having flashbacks of the many memories I made here. The more things I cleared out, the more the space drew me into it, this went on until my studio was completely cleared out and reverted to the bare state as I had first encountered it. Only now, its walls and floor were marked by remnants of oil paint splashes and residues of spray paint, flooding the space with memories of my being there.

I was totally captivated by the energy of this used empty space. Filled with bittersweet nostalgia, the space served as a transient matter that forged the creation of my paintings. Yet when they were taken away, all that's left behind was the accumulation of oil stains which marked the space like scars, a reminder of the violence that had once taken place. These scars are embeded with fond memories and footprints left throughout the period of time since I first moved in.

I view these works as an aftermath, the meltdown of layers upon layers of memories which I had left tucked in my memory bank, hidden and undisturbed as I lived through the pleasant moments and my moments of agony experienced through the years in Hei Qiao village.

The painting process stretched through a prolonged period of time as I slowly released myself through this act of remembering. Layer upon layer, I drew from the memories within the place and my experiences that complemented it. This series of work caught the energy that I was engulfed in, an emotional connection established towards the surrounding I once lived in, the bittersweet relationship engaged between my own past entangled within the space. These works witnessed the struggles of my inner feelings, the forceful breakup from a familiar environment and finally, coming to terms as these echoes of memories linger in my mind.

Looking at the layers of paint accumulated before me, I could   finally begin to envision a new place of hope. I felt the sense   of distance take place within me, perhaps the separation had begun sometime ago. Stepping outside the studio, everything looked vividly familiar under the dimming afternoon sunlight.   My surrounding was quiet, not unlike an ordinary day in Hei Qiao.

It was deep into spring the following year by the time I had completed these paintings. Most warehouses and studios around me had been emptied out by then, except for the gate keeper's post guarding the property to the studio courtyard. Once again, my framer came by to pack up my paintings, getting reading to move out to a new place further out of the city. This time for good.

On 29th June, a row of excavators began tearing down what used to be the studios and warehouses. Three days later, Hei Qiao art district was unceremoniously bulldozed into oblivion.
Wong Perng Fey 2560

Richard Koh Fine Art has been in operation since 2005 and is regarded as a pioneer for introducing Southeast Asian contemporary art to Malaysia and the region. Promoting an adventurous roster of emerging and established artists, the gallery regularly mounts exhibitions locally and abroad with a commitment to emerging practices and challenging media. All images that enclosed with this press release are subject to copyright.

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