Recent Works By Ming Wong And Jin-Me Yoon
Curated by Jean-Paul Kelly and Heather Keung . Co-presented by Trinity Square Video and the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.
Central to the works of Ming Wong and Jin-Me Yoon is the conflict between body and place—a conflict that is represented by the exchange between the artists’ bodies and the transitional spaces into which they insert themselves.
Angst Essen / Eat Fear
Dir. Ming Wong | Germany 2008 | Video Installation
In this restaging of Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Ali: Angst essen Seele auf), Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s seminal film about love between cultural outsiders, Ming Wong plays all of the characters. Using green-screen compositing, Wong is able to appear on screen as both Ali, a Moroccan man, and Emmi, a German woman—as well as all the secondary characters.
In one scene, Emmi and Ali are refused service at an outdoor café. In his playing of both parts, Wong too suffers the same indignation. This offense is echoed as his own race and gender play into his recreation of the narrative. Both Emmi and Ali (and Wong) imagine a “somewhere”—a place between them that, when visited through their love, will change the reality at hand. “When we get back,” Emmi says, “it will all be different.”
Abridged and composited, Wong’s work is an incredible case of slippery vertical replacement: Wong stands in for and replaces each character he performs while each scene is vertically edited through composited layers. However, this new space never fools us into accepting its deception. Each time the imaginary slips and something real surfaces, we are faced with the identities that Wong has dressed up and we are brought back into relation with his being different, with the ideas of difference and with ourselves. Wong gives us “somewhere” to imagine, a place that we know is false, but one that we can nonetheless come back from, assured by our differences.
Ming Wong lives and works in Berlin and Singapore. He recently received a Special Mention at the Venice Biennale for the Singapore Pavilion’s solo exhibition, “Life of Imitation.”
As It Is Becoming (Beppu, Japan): Kannawa District, Atomic Treatment Centre, Onsen, Park, A Former U.S. Army Base
Dir. Jin-Me Yoon | Canada/Japan 2008 | Video installation
In these performance-based videos, Yoon, clad all in black, crawls like an alien creature or wounded combat soldier on the streets of Japan. Her physicality does not fit here. It is not just that her Korean-Canadian body is foreign to this country, but that it does not seem to fit this space: the contrast of her clothing against each landscape tableau makes it look as though this was staged, that she was composited atop the scene.
In exploring the conflict between her body and these places loaded with meaning—an atomic treatment centre, a former U.S. army base, a Japanese city undergoing urban renewal—Yoon creates a new, uneasy space for us to reconsider ideas of identity and nationalism.
Jin-Me Yoon lives and works in Vancouver and teaches at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She is represented by the Catriona Jeffries Gallery.