Installation | 裝置藝術
Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media with single-channel digital video with audio
108 Global Rice Bowls - Installation 壹佰零捌個全球化飯碗-裝置藝術 2012
Mixed media with single-channel digital video with audio
23 x 8.5 x 5.5 feet

Each clang corresponds to each of the 108 bowls, like a bell it pierces through emptiness of phenomena and enlighten the mind into awareness. 108 are the number of beads in a Buddhist rosary, a complete cycle of a prayer. Chinese diaspora diverse voices sing across the globe.

A chronological display of 108 bowls with chopsticks in the order as it appears in the video in the custom in situ installing - a dialectic intersection of the physical with the virtual.

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Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Details of the installation of all the 108 bowls, each a different shape and form as well as its rich subtle tone, texture, and shade of whiteness - a meditation in prayer in praise of each as an individual as much as the complete whole as the society.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- Aristotle (384 - 322 BCE)

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Installation at the Jack Olson Gallery, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL as soundscape mixed media video installation in "The Arts Converge: Contemporary Art and Asian Musical Traditions." 2012

• Click to see the video

Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Single-channel digital video with audio
Stills from 108 Global Rice Bowls 壹佰零捌個全球化飯碗的照片 2008
Single-channel digital video with audio
5:24 min

Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media with single-channel digital video with audio
I Ching Hexagram - Inner Truth 易經之中孚卦 2008
Mixed media with single-channel digital video with audio
12 x 12 x 1 feet

Side view of the commission site-specific installation of "108 Global Rice Bowls" 壹佰零捌個全球化飯碗 video broadcast with the display of all the 108 corresponding all white ceramic different bowls from countries around the world in chronological order as it appears in the video displaying the form of the I Ching's 61st hexagram - Inner Truth 易經的六十ー卦【風澤中孚】floating precociously on tension cable shelves between open floors of the atrium.

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Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media with audio
The Three Hundred and Sixty Walks of Life Labyrinth
參佰陸拾行的迷宮 2013
Mixed media with audio
17 x 25 x 8 feet

Wunderkammer - “Cabinet of Curiosities” is the precursors of today’s museums with vitrines lining the walls of the great rooms of “The Master of the World” who accrued the encyclopedic collection of the exotic and unknown and had them arranged and displayed in any manner it seemed fitted.

In a contemporary spin, these vitrines have taken center stage - ready-made banal product objectified as rarefied commodity. We are now the “curious” in the global arena “in search” of that “Porcelain Rice Bowl” in this labyrinth of life.

How eloquent are you at your quest of “Mastering” this Life Labyrinth “In Search of The Rice Bowl” when Time (900 years of bowls spans from the 10th Century Song Dynasty to the 21st Century), Space (bowls from many different countries), and Matter (bowls from all various types of white ceramic) physically converge into a single compendium of 360 Bowls presented before you?

Welcome to The Labyrinth!

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Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術
The Three Hundred and Sixty Walks of Life Labyrinth (Details) 參佰陸拾行的迷宮

Labyrinth 迷宮 is 迷 (bewitch, charm, infatuate) + 宮 (palace). The etymology of 迷 is phono-semantic compound of semantic 辶 (walk) + phonetic 米 (husked uncooked rice) - “Looking for Rice in a Charmed Palace.”

360 Walks of Life, Every Profession has its own Mastery 參佰陸拾行、行行出状元.

行 is a verb (Walk, Do, Move), 360 “Walks” 參佰陸拾行 encompasses “All Walks of Life” – all fields of occupations and professions. Vernacular usage of “Making a Living” is “In Search of Food” 搵食 - as in “Searching for Rice” 搵飯食, particularly for the Southern Chinese, therefore figuratively your Rice Bowl is your livelihood. How than do you define and identify your vessel of sustenance - Your "Rice Bowl” in your “Search for Food?”

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Commission site-specific installation at the Kentucky finest castellated Gothic Revival villa - Loudoun House at the Lexington Art League for SITE curated by Becky Alley, 2013.

Second iteration also in 2013 at "The Sublime Revisited" Anne Street Gallery, Newburgh, New York curated by Virginia Walsh.

Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media with audio
September 11th Memorial Installation - White
九一一紀念的装置 - 白 2001 - 2002
Mixed media with audio
2.5 x 2.5 x 3 feet

The Tragedy of an Aftermath is The Lesson Not Learned.

As “Bread is the Staff of Life” to the West, rice is the essential staple in feeding the World. It nourishes and underpins the foundation of culture and civilization.

A shared Chinese vernacular etiquette with the East and South East Asian cultures and its greater diaspora including that of Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore of not sticking chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice is because of the resemblance of joss-sticks in an urn – which is a religious offering. The only time a pair of chopsticks is stuck into a bowl of rice is at the beginning of a funeral procession to signify that “Death is here.”

Your Difference is My Acceptance for We Are One.

This installation is my personal offering to the September 11th victims and the lost World Trade Center Twin Towers. It marks the nation’s loss of her innocence by deconstructing the US flag. The seven red strips of the flag correspond to the seven bloody bleeding lines of the large white bowl. The blue quarter manifests into the blue prayer candles with 50 stars of the 50 states shimmering and longing for the departed. The low sound of murmuring chants of a Buddhist prayer for the dead calling for salvation is heard. This is a round low table for one.

When will World Nations join in and Share at This Table of Humanity?

In sharing we enrich, extend, and maximize the limited resource of our global society. The only limit to our growth and progress is our weakness to accept beyond our understanding. Humanity is immeasurable which is what makes us human.

History is thus written by the victor, it is written and rewritten daily, and we write our history today.

- Exhibition brochure 2011

• Click to the full introduction essay

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Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術
September 11th Memorial Installation - Red, White, Blue
九一一紀念的装置 − 紅, 白, 藍

Views of the set of 3 installations at Queens College; Museum of Chinese in America; and Aljira, a Center of Contemporary Art, 2010.

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Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media installation
Five Elements: Six Roots Contemplate Origins in the Spoon Fed World 五行:六根思源哺飯食的世界 2013
Mixed media installation
28 x 8.75 x 5 feet

We are honored by the 5,000 years of continuous cultural history foundation of our forebears that enable us to leap on new trajectories.

We have proven our vitality in making our home in new territory.

We contemplate our roots in seeing how far we have come.

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Commission site-specific installation at the Charles B. Wang Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media
Five Elements 五行 2013
Mixed media

Five Elements 五行 (Wu Xing) is the Chinese worldview on the understanding of dynamic balance and harmony which encompass and correspond to the cosmic cycles, Feng Shui 風水, astrology, interactions between internal organs, properties of Tradition Chinese Medicine 中醫, senses and flavors, martial arts, and music.

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Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media
Six Roots Contemplate Origins 六根思源 2013
Mixed media

Details of the braided "Six Roots" made of porcelain spoons that are attached to the end of the porcelain chopsticks - Often migrants in host country are not just “feeding” themselves but also the burden of providing and supporting a network of dependence thus "feeding" their family in their home country as the root system is tied to the chopsticks.

"Six Roots" are direct references to both the “Six Roots of Buddhism” – Āyatana, the "Sense Base" of 六根 – Sight (eye) 眼, Sound (ear) 耳, Smell (nose) 鼻, Taste (tongue) 舌, Feel (body) 身 and Though (mind) 意, and the Chinese “Six Kinships” 六親.

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Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media installation
Spoon Fed World 哺飯食的世界 2013
Mixed media installation

Details of a global compendium of the hundreds of ready-made all different porcelain spoons in a flotilla formation mimicking the ancient Chinese magnetic spoon compass - Si Nan 司南 in the north-south direction, visually echoing the scattering and traveling of people in the diaspora.

Empty spoons look like hunger mouths - all begging and waiting to be fed. Spoon-feeding is an intimate endeavor of an intergenerational tender care between a parent and a child, and later between a child and the ailing parent.

As it is unlikely that a diaspora is born with a proverbial silver spoon in his/her mouth, but possible with a porcelain spoon writ large instead.

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Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media installation
Five Elements Mountain of Bowls of Rice - Detail of barbed wire 五行山的飯碗 2008
Mixed media installation
10 x 10 x 5 feet

Upon these bowls, stacked upon high
Up upon reaching to the sky

Each upon another upon yet another
Till gravity upon itself near topple

Stacks upon stacks they piled high
Lean to the right and tilting to the left

Hills upon hills, mountains upon another
What it appears is to me a Bowl of Rice

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Detail view of Installation at Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College, NY
Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術
Five Elements Mountain of Bowls of Rice and Close-up Detail 五行山的飯碗

Stacks and piles of over 600 all different all shades of whiteness ceramic/porcelain bowls of rice in sizes ranging from tiny to super oversize, from various countries from all around the world on five different tables. They are protected from the elements in the form of an octagon - Bagua 八卦 (Taoist eight trigrams, often used as a talisman for protection from evil) of barbed wire.

In the epic "Journey to the West" 西遊記, Five Elements Mountain 五行山 is also the Five Fingers Mountain 五指山 in which the Monkey King 孫悟空 was imprisoned and could not escape despite all his magical skills and supernatural ability from essentially Buddha palm.

Time and again glory is always about the great battle waged for power and control, like these gentle mountains of bowls of rice are aggressive guarded by the barbed wire fence. Little thought is never ever paid to the tension that resulted in the relentless numbers of chopstick getting caught in between with broken bowls on the ground. Who is accountable for such carelessness and calamity it caused?

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Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media with audio
The Community Gathers for Dinner 百姓來吃飯 2008
Mixed media with audio
5 x 5 x 4 feet

A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.

— Mao Zedong (1893-1976) “Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan” March 1927

革命不是請客吃飯,不是做文章,不是繪畫繡花,不能那樣雅致,那樣從容不迫,文質彬彬,那樣溫良恭儉讓。革命是暴動,是一個階級推翻一個階級的暴烈的行動。

— 毛澤東 (一八九三〜一九七六)《湖南農民運動考察報告》一九二七年三月

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Installation view - "Rice Amidst the Cloud: Chee Wang Ng 雲中之飯 - 吳子雲" at Dunedin School of Art, New Zealand as the Exhibition Component of the Symposium on Art and Food. 2012
Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術
The Community Gathers for Dinner (Detail) 百姓來吃飯



• Click on the above sound bar to hear the audio of the installation

Eight different shapes and sizes red bowls of rice sharing a five stars feast at the round red table of "The 100 Surnames" which is ringed around by red velvet ropes with the recording of children reading of "The 100 Surnames." The classic "Hundred Family Surnames" 百家姓 is a rhyming poem in lines of four characters from the early Song Dynasty 宋朝 (960 - 1279), together with the "Trimetric Classic" 三字經 and the "Thousand Character Classic" 千字文 were the primer for learning Chinese characters for ages especially in the Chinese diaspora. Common folks and Community are often addressed as the "Hundred Surnames" 百姓. Who are these "Communities" at dinner in our Global Society?

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Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media installtion
100 China(s): All Chinese Look Alike… (Detail) 一佰個飯碗:碗碗看起來都是同樣的… 2004
Mixed media installtion
70 x 5.5 x 0.75 feet

It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers.
– James Grover Thurber (1894 – 1961) “The Scotty Who Knew Too Much" The New Yorker. 18th Feb 1939

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Commission site-specific installation at Plymouth Gallery, Des Moines, IA
Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術
100 China(s): All Chinese Look Alike… 一佰個飯碗:碗碗看起來都是同樣的…

100 settings pair with only 99 different all white ceramic/porcelain bowls from 46 countries around the world in a single row of vitrines each labeled with an army dog-tag embossed with the corresponding country of origin of each bowl. As the Chinese tradition that life as in art is not complete unless one participates in it, thus the viewer completes this personalized participatory art as the honorable "100."

In today's global economy, a bowl made in Sri Lanka with New Zealand clay, funded by Japanese investments using English technology and German-made klins for the US market is still called "china." In analyzing aesthetics, can we rationalize beyond the perceptual surface to a deeper imperceptible depth? By further exploring beneath the substructure of this surface, does it shine or conceal its metaphysical essence?

By the mere displacement of stereo-type vernacular does this installation challenges the myopic deciphering of the Duchampian lexicon? Which bowl do you like? Do we need more bowls? What about the dog-tag?

• Click to the full introduction essay

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Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術 Mixed media installation
What Thou Art? 乜Q㗶? 2005
Mixed media installation
Appr. 30 x 30 x 15 inch

The struggling hand thrusting upward holding on to a bowl of rice with a pair of brushes as chopsticks while fighting to break free. The many red strings which are anchored to the keyhole plates are pulling it down in the middle of the shattered iconic MTA subway map of NYC platter floating on the surface with submerged keys below.
Chee Wang Ng Installation | 裝置藝術


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Installation created in support of Asian American Arts Centre for the exhibition “New York Eviction Blues.”

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