Curated by Hou Hanru
Murmurs leak from someone’s ear.
It’s the echo created by the excess of a bunch of unpleasant words
that have been blocked from the eardrum.
Those that made it through are simply nonsense,
only the earwax remain as wisdom.
Do not rush to pick the wax out or to probe with a cotton swab.
When you drive the cotton into a corner,
The resistance of oppressed cotton is not something that you can survive.
Don’t you disgrace your parents
if you can’t even withstand a tiny bit of itchiness?
Wait till the wax fall and land on your shoulders like eggs bursting out of fish bellies,
that’s when you can harvest all you want.
Oh and yes,
my eardrum was already ruptured before marriage,
do you mind?
Wong Ping, Earwax
Wong Ping is one of the most eccentric artists of our time… Probably, this is because he grew up in a very eccentric city called Hong Kong, trapped in an even more eccentric time that is called postcolonial-neocolonial transition. Now there is an urgent need to deal with an all the more eccentric ‘new age’, strangely called ‘Covid and post/neo-Covid’ that is turning the world into a generally eccentric place. Or you could call it an innovative ecology of life.
How can we face this new age? Wong Ping likes to take his cues from the daily news, because there are plenty of eccentric stories there. Inspired by an eye-catching story of ‘cultural expression’, a gesture of resistance against urban gentrification, that took place in the new ‘Fatherland’ (the latter has been increasingly imposing its authority on Ping’s city) —the owner of an old building in Shanghai, widely dubbed the ‘nail house’, had covered its exterior with posters of the national leader, in the hope of putting a stop to the bulldozers coming in—the artist decided to plaster posters of his own face and the back of his head processed in a dizzy, overlapped fashion on the front and back of the TACB… (What a useful talisman! Perhaps the building where the TACB is located will now stay forever even though Berlin is becoming more and more gentrified!)
Then we are led into the galleries: it’s another eccentric trip into Ping’s head, or, more precisely, into his ‘inner world’ through an ear canal… A journey of seeking truth, and thus of happiness. Once inside, we are greeted by what Ping reminds us: ‘What has succeeded in filtering through the eardrum is all bullshit. Earwax is the only real wisdom’!
And then, our heads are struck by a vague yet crisp sound from the inside… It’s light, ‘poetic’, somewhat chaotic, and even uncontrollably erotic… The space suddenly turns transparent, but it also locks us in. This is perhaps an antechamber to Plato’s Cave, where what one sees are merely shadows of the actual things. Here, in the antechamber, one only sees things without shadows. So, which one is the real world?
From Hong Kong, Ping sends us greetings, somewhat intimately, via the secret canal – his ears are now connected to ours. Is there a hole to some fresh air out there, on the other side of the world, in this ‘pandemic new age’?
We are falling in love with Ping… It’s time to reread El amor en los tiempos del cólera (Gabriel Garcia Márquez).
9 December 2021
15 September 2021 – 19 December 2021