Labyrinths (Libraries)ROH, Jakarta, Indonesia11 December 2022 - 12 February 2023
ROH Labyrinths (Libraries)

ROH is pleased to present Aperture and Labyrinths (Libraries), two concurrent solo exhibitions respectively showing the works of Davy Linggar (b. 1974, Jakarta) in Gallery 🍎 and Heman Chong (b. 1977, Malaysia, raised in Singapore) in Gallery 🍊. This is the first solo exhibition of both artists with the gallery.

ROH Labyrinths (Libraries)
ROH Labyrinths (Libraries)

The multi-layered, trans-disciplinary art practice of Heman Chong often reveals the socio-political complexities of the world we share. Labyrinths (Libraries) revolves around several series and works that allow us ways of understanding these complexities that surround the work of the artist and presents a number of works in a number of different formats including installation, painting, and performance.

Labyrinths (Libraries) (2022 - ongoing) is a set of images resembling maps of spaces produced out of tight grids. These are spaces that are highly organized, with very little room for any form of improvisation. Horizontal and vertical lines dominate the surfaces of these paintings, forming pathways that are navigated in one’s mind but not break out of. Within every library, we can locate books which contain many opposing ideas. These paintings think about multiplicity and the relations between these books and the spaces between them as a landscape of our contemporary time. The visual language within each painting found in Labyrinths (Libraries) is a constant oscillation between positive and negative spaces; sparking an interest in thinking about how ideas can be easily veiled and hidden behind other ideas.


Everything (Wikipedia) (2016) begins with an encounter with an individual walking around a room. It is revealed that this person is reading from their personal mobile device. Beginning with the article of the day on Wikipedia, accessed off the servers in real time, the reader reads that article, without any emotion, and moves onto the next article, which is a link that they can choose from within this page. He/She or They repeats this action, over and over, until the pre-defined hours of the performance has ended. This is a durational performance that is a futile attempt to vocalize a representation of the entirety of human knowledge. The hyperlinks across a multitude of entries written by the everyday person eventually spirals into the depths of irrelevance from the original article of the day.

(Free) Trade (2022) is a new work that appropriates the architecture of an art fair booth and transposes it as a large-scale, temporary situation that is located in the middle of the gallery. It is a minimalist sculpture that surfaces out of a set of instructions, constructed whenever it is exhibited. After the show, it is dismantled and recycled, only to reappear at the next show. Born out of Chong’s interest in the infrastructures found in everyday life, (Free) Trade transposes the ubiquitous art fair booth straight into the gallery, producing a space of contemplation, not unlike structures like pavilions in gardens or jetties at lakes. It is via this emptiness and nothingness that we can collectively think about the possibilities of these spaces as sites of meanings that can arise out of our own imagining.

Born 1977, Malaysia
Lives and works in Singapore

Heman Chong is an artist whose work is located at the intersection between image, performance, situations, and writing. His practice can be read as an imagining, interrogation and sometimes intervention into infrastructure as an everyday medium of politics. He received his Masters in Communication Art & Design from The Royal College of Art, London, UK in 2002.

His solo exhibitions include Peace Prosperity And Friendship With All Nations (2021) at STPI, Singapore; Spirits in the Material World (2019), Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, Netherlands; fiktionfiktionfiktion (2019), Weserburg Museum, Bremen, Germany; Legal Bookshop (2018), Swiss Institute New York, USA; Never is a Promise (2018) Calle Wright, Manila, Philippines; Because, the Night (2017), 72-13, Singapore; Ifs, Ands, or Buts (2016), Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China; An Arm, A Leg and Other Stories (2015), South London Gallery, London, UK; Never, A Dull Moment (2015), Art Sonje Center, Seoul, South Korea; Correspondence(s) (2014), P!, New York, USA; LEM1 (2012), Rossi & Rossi, London, UK; Calendars (2020–2096) (2011), NUS Museum, Singapore; Common People and Other Stories (2007) Art in General, New York, USA; The Sole Proprietor and Other Stories (2007), Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou, China; Vexillogy, Cartography and Other Stories (2005) at Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Snore louder if you can (2004) at The Substation, Singapore; and The Silver Sessions (2003) at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany.

In 2006, he developed a writing workshop with Leif Magne Tangen at Project Arts Center in Dublin where they co-authored PHILIP (2007), a science fiction novel with Mark Aerial Waller, Cosmin Costinas, Rosemary Heather, Francis McKee, David Reinfurt and Steve Rushton. Between 2012 and 2014, Chong produced Moderation(s), a third space that exists between Witte de With Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, Netherlands and Spring Workshop in Hong Kong which involved more than 50 artists and comprised a conference, three exhibitions, three residencies and a book of short stories. Chong is the co-director and founder (with Renée Staal) of The Library of Unread Books which has been hosted by the NTU Center for Contemporary Art, Singapore; The Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), Manila, Philippines; Casco, Utrecht, Netherlands; Kunstverein Milano, Milan, Italy; Jameel Arts Center, Dubai, UAE;, Prague, Czech; I_S_L_A_N_D_S, Singapore and the 7th Singapore Biennale. His work is included in the public collections of Art Sonje Center, Kadist Art Foundation, M+ Museum, The National Museum of Art Osaka, NUS Museum, Rockbund Art Museum, Singapore Art Museum and Weserburg Museum.

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Copyright belongs to The Artist

Photography courtesy of The Artist and ROH