10 New Museum Triennial Artists in 10 Days: Wong Ping
Our fourth pick from the prescient New York show's 2018 installment is an off-the-wall animator who applies a screensaver aesthetic to the craft of moral storytelling.
Wong Ping. Courtesy of the artist
Since Younger than Jesus, its 2009 first installment, the New Museum Triennial has been a key date on the New York art-world calendar. As the city’s only recurring show devoted to international emerging artists, it provides an indispensable first look at the people and practices who will help define the field in years to come. 2018’s event, subtitled Songs for Sabotage, gathers thirty artists and collectives linked by their interest in disrupting the hierarchies of propaganda, power, control that shape our lives and cultures.
Continuing daily over the next two weeks, GARAGE identifies and introduces ten triennial artists to watch.
Wong Ping (born 1984, Hong Kong; based in Hong Kong) is on fire. After a stint in post-production at the Cartoon Network, which ended when the company moved to Singapore in 2014, Ping made the move into fine art. Two years later, he’s scored representation from Edouard Malingue Gallery and makes his own rainbow-hued cartoons for a living.
Ping's dreamlike narratives tell tales that might be pretty difficult to watch were they not rendered in animated form. Who’s the Daddy, for example, tells the story of a man cursed with a micropenis who meets a woman on a dating app. Their relationship ends, unsurprisingly, after she spears his eyeball with a spiked-heel shoe.
Ping’s animation in the Triennial, Wong Ping’s Fables 1, looks like an oddball screensaver. Gridlike patterns allude to deep digital structure, while comic-book imagery illustrates a set of curious moral tales. The titular fables tell the story of Elephant, an intellectual who discovers second sight; Chicken, a police officer with Tourette Syndrome who accidentally kills his family; and Tree, a bus passenger forced to confront his darkest fears. They’re flawed characters indeed, and Ping annotates each of their stories with a short critical maxim.
“The tradition of fables providing a maxim is like the tradition of the artist’s statement,” Ping told GARAGE. “It tries to explain work that often doesn’t need it. But in the internet era, maybe we don’t have the time for long fairy tales—we want everything to be short and pithy.”
2018 Triennial: Songs for Sabotage is on view at the New Museum, New York, from February 13 through May 27.