Thursday, June 16, 2011

Liyen Chong's favourite things

Artist Liyen Chong, exhibiting as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography, shares a few of her favourite things with Viva.

Photography has taken over the city, with the Auckland Festival of Photography on until June 26. As part of the festival there are various official and unofficial exhibitions and events, including a photographic exhibition at Melanie Roger Gallery which opens today. The exhibition features works from an interesting range of photographers and artists including Derek Henderson, Tom Roberton, Patricia Piccinini, James Lowe, Richard Orjis and Liyen Chong. Chong has become known for her detailed embroidered "drawings" that use hair as thread; a modern take on Victorian "hair painting". Explains gallerist Melanie Roger, "Liyen Chong is an exciting young artist whose work consistently surprises, delights and challenges her audiences". For this photographic exhibition, she has made new works on plates as part of her residency at McCahon House in Titirangi, which Roger explains places photographic imagery on to found ceramics, adding a 3D element to the exhibition. Chong tells us about some of her favourite things.

* Photography at Melanie Roger Gallery until July 9. 226 Jervois Rd, Herne Bay, ph (09) 360 1151.


1. Asian stationery

How could you resist retractable fluorescent markers and gel ink pens that glide effortlessly with the slightest pressure? I've always taken my writing implements seriously. I remember feeling a little uncomfortable with the envy I used to raise whenever I opened my pencil case back in high school in Christchurch. I've recently returned from a trip to Malaysia and Singapore with a bagful of stationery that I probably won't get around to using for a while yet - old habits die hard!

2. Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art

Edited by Kristine Stiles and Peter Selz. Delicious reading when you want to decipher what an artist was thinking, or even if you just want to be entertained. I borrowed it so much from the library at art school, I decided to buy a copy of it.

3. Lundia shelving

A fantastically easy to customise and modify system of shelving that facilitates hoarding. All made in beautiful, solid New Zealand pine. The unit in my lounge is so versatile it houses the TV, computer, plants, and bits and bobs. Best of all, it shelves the books we've collected and borrowed from friends (and haven't returned).

4. Plastic human skull

A plastic replica of a human foetal skull at 32 weeks made by Bone Clones, an osteological reproduction company. It reminds me of the absurdity and profundity of life because it is unnervingly cute and thoroughly creepy at the same time. I made a series of seven hair embroideries based on this skull, with white hair from a dear friend of mine a while ago.

5. Malaysian/Indonesian traditional Batik prints

I love collecting them and draping or hanging them around the house because they remind me of some of my roots in Southeast Asia. A hodge-podge of colourful cultures and clashing histories with hardly any resolution in sight.

6. Kitchen tools from Ikea

Good design for extremely affordable prices - and yes, not very good for the landfill in some cases I know. I love them most when my husband uses them more than I do while beaming happily at me because I let him fill up our suitcases with these hard-to-pack items.

7. Paint and colour

After working with a mostly black and white palette for the last couple of years, I'm having a huge thing for colour at the moment. I'm fascinated with the world of colours and effects you can get in this day and age, not to mention the culture and psychology of fashionable colours. I'm currently experimenting with photographs on Photoshop, acrylic paints and ceramic glazes.

8. Post-it notes

I love them and can't function properly without them. I have them in every colour - they're seriously useful for any random and absolutely trivial thought that I can't file away immediately.

9. Peter Robinson's student work

Peter Robinson's old student work that I found in the painting studio wall cavities in Ilam in 1998. You never know what you're going to find! Well, at least it makes me feel better to think that it could be, that it might be.

10. John Baldessari

I have many favourite artists that I like for different reasons, but I adored his retrospective that I caught in Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien back in 2005. My husband and I had such a great time giggling away at all the clever works that he'd made. I love art that combines metaphysics, reality and theory in a way that makes me laugh.
By Zoe Walker | Email Zoe By Zoe Walker
10:00 AM Thursday Jun 16, 2011

1 comment:

Liyen said...

Hi NZBC, Thanks so much for the add! I browsed through your blog and had a really interesting time - will definitely come back for more. Are you based in Auckland by any chance? If you are, would love to invite you to my opening at the Gus Fisher Gallery on the 26th of August (next Friday 5.30pm). In any case, it would be great to meet for a coffee sometime with a couple of friends of mine as I'm sure we have heaps in common! Do let me know. You can email me at liyenchong(@)gmail(.)com Cheers!