Week 15 – Artist Conversation – I Tan Wong

The art in one of the galleries this week was displayed through video, which was one of its most intriguing features. As I walked into the gallery, I was instantly captivated by what the artist was trying to say. There were five videos playing at one time, in each of which the artist became something else. I Tan Wong told me that the art was open for interpretation, but she had a certain approach in making the video.

At first, I noticed that each video had a different feel or vibe to it. In some of them, Wong remained still and pensive, while in others, she was active and struggling. This was my first impression, and I did not know exactly what she was trying to convey. I asked her, and she told me that my interpretation was interesting and that any interpretation may be different than what she truly desires. Her main goal in her videos is to become the object that she is thinking of. She suggests that objects are around us all the time and it has become her desire to become a certain object. More so, when she is “struggling” in a video, she is actually struggling to present what is in her mind.

In the video, it was always a question if how far she was able to push herself. She claims that when one envisions a certain object, it can be real or unsettle. She has the desire to perform and bring the object into reality, but when she does it, it may not always be necessarily accurate. Ultimately, this factor and the desire to perform the objects in and out of herself have been her main motivation. These desires suddenly come into her mind, and she instantly tries to make sense of it all.

The visual style in the video has also impacted her work in general. Wong likes the distortion of multiple layers between the video and the audience because the layers make everything so unreal and make the audience connect to the video. If this happens, the audience is able to interpret the artwork. This is something Wong really likes because she is the only one who can access the objects in her mind at any given time, which for her can be uncontrollable at times, and she is aware that the audience is going to have to open up its mind to the work in order to interpret it. Visually, the background is black and Wong is in a white dress. After the inquiry, I gathered that the black screen illuminates more of a personal approach to the art in the sense the space in unknown, and it can really be applied to anyone. She says that the space is empty and can belong to anyone, but when she is performing, she owns it. The white dress does not represent femininity or womanhood, but it symbolizes purity because thoughts are not ugly nor pretty, but pure.

One can really analyze the amount of detail in Wong’s work. There is definitely a statement being made in the sense that although there is room for interpretation, there is a definite sentiment being displayed. It is interesting because after speaking with Wong, I completely knew what she was talking about in terms of her inspiration, desires and visual style. The amount of detail in her art renders a certain complexity within it. Wong is a BFA student with an emphasis in Photography and with material like this, she can definitely make a living in the world of art.

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