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Shiseido Gallery
Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building
Basement floor, 8-8-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Tokyo 104-0061, Japan   map * 
tel: +81 3 3572 3901     fax: +81 3 3672 3951

Me in Me
by Shiseido Gallery
Location: Shiseido Gallery
Artist(s): Ming Wong
Date: 6 Jul - 22 Sep 2013

The Shiseido Gallery is pleased to commission and host a solo exhibition by artist Ming Wong, titled 'Me in Me'. Ming Wong, born in Singapore in 1971, is currently based in Berlin. He is known for placing himself into reconstructions of emblematic World Cinema masterpieces from various genres, integrating his own new interpretations of their dialogues, narratives, and performance techniques in a unique approach, in which the inevitable differences from the originals highlight issues of racial and cultural identity, gender, language, and nationality.

Singapore, since its Independence in1965, remains today a highly cosmopolitan society that is multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-faith. While Ming Wong is ethnically Chinese, he grew up with a fondness for Malay films made in 50's Singapore, Bollywood cinema, Western film and television - and through these and other pluralistic forms of contacts, he developed a particular sense of being “Singaporean” that is distinct from diasporic Chinese living elsewhere. In an interview with ART iT magazine, he states: “I think I make all of what I do because I come from Singapore, and lived there through a certain period in its history, and that continues to define me.” Ming Wong's personal formation hence serves as impetus for many major themes of his work, including racial, cultural and national identity and issues of language and bodily behaviours. His hybridized work offers astute viewpoints on the socio-cultural conditions that we face in the midst of the global modern society.

For Shiseido Gallery's commission, Ming Wong presents a film installation inspired by Japanese cinema and traditional performing arts. This is a realization of his long-time desire to spend time in Japan to research and create a work inspired by the richness of Japanese culture. He examines the history of Japanese silver screen from three genre perspectives: “Jidai-geki (historical),” “Gendai-geki (modern),” and “Anime.” He notes that “Western films exist as an extension of photography, whereas Japanese films are more extensions of kabuki, noh, and other traditional performing arts”. In Me in Me, he uses the distinctive performance, camera work, and narrative-setting of these three cinematic worlds to express representative aspects of Japanese film.

For “Jidai-geki,” he uses a flat set that conveys little depth of field, with flat camera work set directly opposite to the stage to capture his kabuki performance as a woman in a classic revenge role. For “Gendai-geki,” he harks back to the golden age of Japanese film greats like Yasujiro Ozu and Mikio Naruse, and takes Japan's era of economic boom as the backdrop for showing the struggles of women and the complicated relationships between fathers and daughters. And for “Anime,” he turns to Japanese animated films (like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Metropolis, and Ghost in the Shell) with their characteristic psychological elements, to create the story of an android protagonist on a quest to regain memories of a girl as a high school student. In the style of film trailers, Ming Wong has created archetypal characters of Japanese cinema and performs all of them himself, allowing his own awkward articulations of the lines in Japanese and his own physical characteristics to bring inherent characteristics like gender, age, language, and race into view.

The Shiseido Gallery cordially invites you to witness the premiere of the first work that Ming Wong has created in Japan - a unique installation of newly-created films inspired by the world of Japanese film.

Courtesy of Shiseido Gallery

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