John Clang

John Clang

John Clang understands photography as a performance practice employed to analyse, develop, and construct relationships, social dynamics, and the dynamics of relationships among people.


JOHN CLANG

Tye family (Paris, Tanglin), 2012
Series “Being Together”
C-Print
Courtesy the artist and Pékin Fine Arts, Beijing

The Being Together series is based on the autobiographical experience of the artist John Clang, similar to many young people who need to leave their country of origin to study or work. Having moved from Singapore to New York in 1999, the artist created the first images of the series in 2010, taking his portrait with his family. The subject of subsequent works all have similar stories: the physical distance between family members, reunited virtually thanks to digital technology.

In each photograph the different people portrayed are physically separated from each other, sometimes thousands of miles away. The families are in Skype connection with the place where the photographer and the expatriated family member are located. The webcam video is projected on a 1:1 scale so that all the people in the room can be included in the projection field. The title of each artwork refers to three elements: the family name of the portrayed subjects, the city to which one of the family members has moved, and the name of the quarter in Singapore where the original family still lives.

All the portrayed environments are real private spaces: they are living rooms or bedrooms, fragments of ordinary domestic realities. What emerges are traces of the past, symbols of bonds with the family of origin, or the evidence of a present life, such as the children and companions who now constitute an extension of original family group. The shadow of the portrayed subject inside the field of projection is always accentuated by Clang and becomes the stylistic motif of the whole photographic series: a contrast between physical and immaterial, between presence and absence, accentuated further by the presence of numerous paintings, mirrors or screens, and by the little windows typical of online conversations. Clang creates a short circuit between reality and representation, developing different levels of representation that create a complex play of references. Family reunification does not happen in actuality, but only in the non-place of the photographic image.

 

John Clang (born 1973, Singapore; lives and works in New York and Singapore) is a photographer who creates images that are, as the artist says, poetic refl ections of himself in relation with the slight changes, or shades, in his life environment. In 1993, following his inaugural participation in the exhibition, Critical Framework, at the 5th Passage Gallery in Singapore, Clang was invited to participate in different joint and solo exhibitions. Among his most recent solo exhibitions are: in 2001, Backs, DVF Studio, New York; in 2003, They Were in Color: Jun 4 2001 – Jan 27 2002, Galerie Colette, Paris – Fear of Losing the Existence, Bank Art Gallery, Los Angeles; in 2004, Clang. A Self Portrait, Jendela Gallery, Singapore; in 2007, Clang. A White Book, The Substation, Singapore; in 2010, (Con)Front, 2902 Gallery. Singapore; in 2012, John Clang: Self Refl ection, Pekin Fine Arts, Beijing; in 2013, Being Together: Family & Portraits – Photographing with John Clang, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore – When I say you are dreaming, so am I, Art Stage, Singapore. Among his most recent joint exhibitions are: in 2002, Porn?, Proud Galleries, London; in 2009, New York Photo Festival: (super)natural, The Tobacco Warehouse, Brooklyn, New York; in 2010, Through The Looking Glass, Annexe Gallery, Kuala Lumpur – HIDEntities, mc2gallery, Milan – Human : Nature, 2nd Dali International Photography Festival, Dali – Human Faces, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore; in 2011, The Open Daybook Exhibition, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Los Angeles – The 2010 Sovereign Asian Art Prize, The Rotunda, Exchange Square, Hong Kong – NOW or NEVER, ION Art Gallery, Singapore – What’s Next 30×30 Creative Exhibition, The OCT Art & Design Gallery, Shenzhen (after showing at the Artis Tree, Hong Kong) – Not Too Far Away, 2902 Gallery, Singapore; in 2012, Crossing SEA(s), 2902 Gallery, Singapore – I See China, Pekin Fine Arts, Beijing – Paper Moon, KSU Art Museum, Keenesaw – Venti d’Oriente, mc2gallery, Milan – W I T H ( O U T ), Brockspace, London.



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