Through the lens of sex, love and desire, six significant Asian and Australian artists explore the realities and perceptions of cultural limitations and personal freedom. Diverse in background and working with a range of media - including sculpture, video installation, digital animation and photography - the artists combine intimate, everyday experiences with elements of fantasy, sharing a poetic sensibility that is at once direct and tender, playful and provocative.
Evoking a sense of optimism through the power of baring all, the works explicitly present the human body, or else candidly explore emotional worlds. Finding lightness and opportunities for resistance in the joys and pitfalls of sex and love, the artists variously bring a human quality to wider social and political discourses, while deftly revealing the reductive nature of Western perceptions.
Cement Fondu is honoured to present 10 photographic works by Chinese artist Ren Hang, who sadly died in 2017 at the age of 29, and is considered one of the most interesting contemporary photographers of his generation. Known for taking nude portraits of his friends that embrace sex, queerness and naturism, Hang’s images present encounters between the body and nature that are infused with a desire for unbounded freedom.
Chinese artist and digital native Miao Ying presents her series of tragi-romantic .Gif love poems that feature images of Government censored websites, such as Google, YouTube and Twitter. Fascinated by the ‘Great Fire Wall’ that divides the Chinese internet from the rest of the Web, the works are indicative of the artist’s romantic relationship with the ‘Chinternet’, which she describes as the love-hate “Stockholm Syndrome” – the condition of falling in love with your captor.
Hong Kong artist Wong Ping, exhibits his vibrant and crass animation Stop Peeping, which inspires the title for the show. Viewers are transformed into voyeurs through the eyes of his semi-autobiographical antihero, who peeps at his neighbour through a hole in the wall, then sneaks into her home to collect her sweat and uses it to make ice-lollies, which he consumes.
Commissioned by Cement Fondu, multi-disciplinary Australian artist Jason Phu presents a new video installation in which the audience witnesses an intimate conversation between the artist and his parents over the dinner table. Together, they talk about how his grandparents met, how his parents met and what they hope for his future.
Po Po, considered a pioneer of contemporary art in Myanmar, presents three soft sculptures that were remarkably made and first exhibited in the 1980s during Myanmar’s 50-year ‘closed-door’ policy. The abstract nature of Po Po’s soft sculptures allowed him to address taboo topics, such as sexuality and social criticism, while proving incomprehensible to state censors.
With their signature combination of humour, frank observation and social critique in minimal text-based animations, Seoul-based art duo Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries present a new tango version of Cunnilingus in North Korea, which narrates an imagined political address by Kim Jong-Il, North Korea’s Second Supreme Leader (1941 – 2011), asserting as a pro of communism the highly satisfied women of North Korea.
IMAGES: Wong Ping, Stop peeping, 2014, Single channel video animation, 3 min 48 sec. Image courtesy of Edouard Malingue Gallery and the artist; © Ren Hang, 2015, C-print photograph. Image courtesy of Eli Klein Gallery, New York.