Natalie Tan

Curatorial Projects

Morgan Wong
Mean Time

Co-curated with Tyler Russell
September 9 – October 15, 2016
Centre A (Vancouver, Canada)

In September 2014, Hong Kong citizens flooded and occupied areas of the city, an expression of frustration with the ongoing deterioration of One Country, Two Systems, and in particular, to challenge a provision that candidates for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive are selected by an electoral college heavily populated by members with close ties to Beijing. It was an extension of earlier protests against the Moral & National Education (MNE) curriculum, a policy that aimed at nurturing students’ patriotism towards China and cultivating their “sense of belonging to the motherland.”

Concerned students and pro-democracy supporters hit the streets. In a manner echoing 1997 handover anxieties and post-Tiananmen trauma, these events were forcing a young generation to come to terms with a long life in socio-political limbo, resisting a fate whose seal they hope, through long persistent effort, to one day overcome – like the stone that Sisyphus was bound to failingly roll up a hill over and over again.

It was, and continues to be Kafka and Camus in the tidy package of a 50 year time bundle; the constant march of oppressive bureaucracy, blended with the Sisyphean fate of having the opportunity to make the hopeful choice to roll the stone of basic rights and dignity up an  ever-increasingly steep hill, again and again, for what may well be an eternity.

Featuring a pair of works, The Remnant of My Volition (Force Majeure) (2014) and Frustration of Having More than Two Choices to Make in Life (2013), in Mean Time, Wong reaches beyond the Hong Kong-specific context and invites viewers to consider the inevitable, merciless persistence of time, and to, despite life’s overwhelming circumstances, dare hope in its possibility.

Morgan Wong currently lives and works in Hong Kong. Shortlisted for the Sovereign Art Prize and featured in Hong Kong Basel Encounters, Wong has exhibited extensively in Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Australia and Europe, but this exhibition marked Wong’s North American debut.

Text adapted from Centre A