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 I MADE A BOAT IN PRISON-A JOURNEY TO THE SHORE

11/09/2019 - 08/12/2019

Zilberman Projects - Istanbul is pleased to announce the present Isaac Chong Wai’s exhibition “I Made a Boat in Prison–A Journey to the Shore” that is on view between September 11 – December 8, 2019. The Berlin and Hong Kong based artist’s first exhibition in Istanbul functions as an extension of his solo exhibition What is the future in the past? And what is the past in the future? at Zilberman Gallery –Berlin between September 6 – November 9, 2019.

Contemplating imaginary pasts and looking at possible futures from the point of the present, the drawings, sculptures, site-specific installations and performances of the artist deal with the con-cealed perils of the public, the hidden available to our gaze. While normative narratives practice a certain rhetoric, Chong’s works beckon us through dilemmas; turning assumed truths on their heads and inviting us to participate in dialogues of vulnerability and resilience. His pieces often play with time, memory and propose performance as a commemorative tool for the future. Taking historical sites as the spaces of memory, Chong addresses complex research on how the body transforms in public space and uses alternating mediums to reflect on layers of historical memory.

I Made a Boat in Prison–A Journey to the Shore is based on Chong’s prior and eponymous project that took place in JVA Weimar, a former prison for the juvenile in Germany in 2015. Influenced by the high and heavy fence circumscribing the prison garden, Chong cuts pieces out of this bordering material through which we can see but are unable to reach. The boat structure made out of this original fence, suggests a plan or a dream for an escape, maybe in a flying boat, not only from the context of a prison but also from the conflicted political setting in the contemporary world. The paintings with their sky blue backgrounds 672 lines in silver, 2019 and 279 lines in blue, 2019 offer a silver lining to the idea of incarceration. The malfunction of a missing part of the fence here collides with an ambiguous abstraction. Both in political or metaphorical senses, these works tackle the inevitable ways in which representations evolve, retrograde and interweave. The lines, which appear intact, in reality, barely touch each other: the concept of a bordering fence remains fragile, impotent and even permeable.

The performance Swimming Back to Our Destination, 2019, embodies the imageries of human mobility through thinking about the struggles, strengths and substitutes of bodies. The swimmers learning to swim the same way a boat does, in a collective way, highlight our yearning for an alternative, an ideal mode for mobility – in solidarity.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog with contributions by Pauline Doutreluingne, Caroline Ha Thuc, and Lotte Laub.

For more information please contact Naz Beşcan: naz@zilbermangallery.com

Zilberman Projects