Contemporary artist Ming Wong, born in Singapore in 1971, was invited to Tokyo to create and present an exhibition-format video work, set in Tokyo and closely associated with Japanese popular culture. Nikkatsu Roman Porn was a series of softcore films that continues to hold an important place in Japan’s cinematic history, although the series has not been sufficiently evaluated. In a bid to look at the series from a modern gender perspective, the artist focuses on contemporary “video grammar,” the conventions being developed across social networking services. In China especially, crossdressing men known as “偽娘 (fake girls)” (weiniang) have gained popularity in recent years, particularly among teenagers. This inspired the work’s concept, in which Wong references the Nikkatsu Roman Porn series and plays a “fake girl” in the work. In summer 2019, a simple filming studio was set up in ASAKUSA, a venue for contemporary art programs operated by ASAKUSA Executive Committee. The work was produced and shot over three days by the artist and a three-person production team using just one iPhone, and occasionally a selfie stick and other minimal equipment. For the exhibition, the venue was made to resemble the bedroom of a “fake daughter” former porn actress. For the opening, Wong appeared as a “fake daughter” for a “pillow talk” performance event.
A Berlin based artist, Ming Wong, builds layers of cinematic language, social structures, identity and introspection through his re-telling of world cinema and popular culture in his videos, installations and performances. With imperfect translations and reenactments, he casts an actor (often himself) as every character in a story. Wong attempts to unravel ideas of ‘authenticity’, ‘originality’ and the ‘other’, with reference to the act of human performativity. He probes how culture, gender and identity are constructed, reproduced and circulated, as well as how these acts feed into the politics of representation. Recent exhibitions include Asian Art Biennale, Taichung, Taiwan (2019); Busan Biennale, South Korea (2018); Dakar Biennale, Senegal (2018); Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2018); SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin (2018). His solo exhibitions include UCCA, Beijing (2015); Shiseido Gallery Tokyo (2013); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2012); Hara Museum, Tokyo (2011); etc. He has participated in Sydney Biennale (2016 & 2010); Asia Pacific Triennial (2015); Shanghai Biennale (2014); Lyon Biennale (2013); Liverpool Biennial (2012); Gwangju Biennale (2010); Performa 11, New York (2010). He represented Singapore at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 with the solo presentation Life of Imitation, which was awarded a special mention.
ASAKUSA Executive Committee
1-6-16 Nishiasakusa Taito, 111-0035, Tokyo
ASAKUSA and its neighborhood, Taito City, Tokyo