HO Tzu Nyen

The Nameless  (2015), video still, courtesy of the artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery

The Nameless (2015), video still, courtesy of the artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery


The nameless

2015, single-channel HD video, 5.1 surround sound, 21’15”

The Nameless is a video installation that revolves The Nameless is a video installation that revolves around a Sino-Vietnamese man named LAI Teck, who is played by iconic Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu Wai. LAI Teck was one of the 50 known aliases of the Secretary General of the Malayan Communist Party from 1939 to 1947, until he was killed in Thailand after being exposed as a triple agent. He had worked first for the French, thenthe British secret forces and finally with the JapaneseKempeitai (secret police) during the years of the Malayan Occupation (1941–1945). Of all the great cinematic cultures of the world, it is perhaps Hong Kong’s cinema that has shown the most intense fascination with ‘compromised’ individuals. Taking its cues from a constant stream of Hong Kong films made about ‘stool pigeons,’ ‘double- agents,’ ‘informers,’ and ‘traitors,’ the work tells the story of an identity metamorphosis lurking beneath the veneer of nations and ideologies. By overlaying multiple languages and compiling images of a single actor against different Asian films made between 1989 and 2013, The Nameless attempts to represent the historical, shifting, multifacetedfigure as one who not only influenced a crucial periodof Malayan history, but also embodies the layered historical and ideological complexities of Southeast Asia.


HO Tzu Nyen

Born 1976 in Singapore, lives and works in Singapore

HO Tzu Nyen’s complex practice is constituted primarily of video and installation. Permeating his works are a pervasive sense of ambiguity, theatricality and unease, augmented by a plethora of historical, literary, art historical and musical references. As features in their own right, the heart of each of his films is an observationof history. More specifically, they are a weaving of factand myth to unravel unspoken layers of Southeast Asianhistory against the canonized versions of history, whilstequally pointing out our own personal unknowns. HO Tzu Nyen earned a BA in Creative Arts from Victorian Collegeof the Arts, University of Melbourne (2001), and an MA inSoutheast Asian Studies from the National University of Singapore (2007). He has been widely exhibited with solo exhibitions at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong (2017); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012); Contemporary Art Centreof South Australia, Adelaide (2010); Artspace, Sydney (2011); Substation, Singapore (2003). Furthermore,he represented Singapore at the 54th VeniceBiennale (2011). Important group exhibitions include Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2015); Guggenheim Museum, New York (2013); Autonomous Regions,Times Museum, Guangzhou (2013); Surplus Authors, Witte de With, Rotterdam (2012); trans-mediale.11, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2011). Bilbao (2015).