Heman Chong: Meditations on Shadow Libraries

17 January – 10 March

Kicking off the new year with an exciting solo presentation during the 2024 edition of Singapore Art Week by leading Singapore-based artist Heman Chong, STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery is proud to present Meditations on Shadow Libraries, a multi-disciplinary exhibition running from 17 January – 10 March 2024, curated by Brian Kuan Wood, editor and co-founder of e-flux journal and co-curator of the recent Taipei Biennial 2023.
Heman Chong, Georgette Chen / 64 Butterfly Avenue / Singapore 13 / 2024.01, 2024, Acrylic on stainless steel, 8.5 x 5.5 cm (artwork). © Heman Chong. Photo courtesy of the artist and STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery, Singapore.

Publishing today is full of contradictions between physical volumes and ephemeral digital products, between actual people and the endless possibilities of knowledge. Heman Chong’s solo exhibition at STPI gathers 9 bodies of work that form a new palimpsest of his multi-faceted practice, with its idiosyncratic movements in, around and between the production of images, performances, situations and writings.

Over the course of the past two decades, Chong has been preoccupied with the public library as ideology, material and site, and Meditations on Shadow Libraries explores the unexpected shapes and forms of today’s personal, individual or informal libraries given the way we rapidly share information and knowledge. How can we begin to think beyond a mere capitalisation of data? Should everyone be allowed to share information freely and without consequence? What would that system look and feel like? What are the limits of control when the ease of sharing knowledge becomes increasingly commonplace?

As an exhibition, Meditations on Shadow Libraries is both like a giant single artwork by Heman Chong, and a set of open-ended individual works through which multiple objects, experiences and ideas might pass. With lightness and humour, Chong deliberately widens the distance between knowledge and information by measuring them against the bodies they inhabit, even if temporarily. How are books and people always a new encounter with a shared enterprise, full of holes and unexplored domains?

Since 1999, the work of Heman Chong has been the subject of solo exhibitions at art galleries and institutions around the world. This is his second solo exhibition at STPI.

During Singapore Art Week, STPI will also present artworks by Heman Chong at the gallery’s booth (BB14) at ART SG, the leading international art fair in Singapore and Southeast Asia, held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre from 19 January – 21 January 2024.


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