Time Out Singapore: Heman Chong

Born in Malaysia and raised in Singapore, Heman Chong, 36, is best known for his conceptual and often interactive pieces. His current solo show will feature three of his works, including the 100-photo series A Short Story About Singapore (Volume 1). Chong will also be launching his monograph, The Part in the Story Where We Lost Count of the Days, at the exhibition. He tells Gwen Pew more about Short Story.

XXXXXX by Heman Chong.

‘A Short Story About Singapore (Volume 1) #71’  by Heman Chong.

27 Jul 2013: ‘I started the work without thinking of it as a narrative, but more as way of taking notes of the environment around me. The oldest photograph actually dates back to 7 December 2004, and the newest is dated 27 July 2012.’

‘I never deliberately decide on my locations, but one of the things that I do a lot in Singapore is to take very long walks, and most of these images are shot while I walk across our city.’

‘One of my favourite works is ‘A Short Story About Singapore (Volume 1) #71’ [pictured], a photograph of a small handwritten sign by the owners of Sunny Bookshop announcing their move from Far East Plaza to Plaza Singapura. I collect photographs of handwritten signs by Singaporeans as a way of documenting a certain aesthetic present in how we communicate with each other in public. Also, I would often meander by Sunny Bookshop during my walks to buy a book. It has been a ritual for me for many years. I was very sad when it disappeared. So this one photograph has many meanings for me – one that’s of a collective memory that a group of Singaporeans share, but also a very distinct formal logic of aesthetics.’

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