She skips happily, joyously between...
An artist of Malaysian-Chinese descent, Liyen Chong boldy negotiates Eastern and Western art forms, motifs and languages to create works that are conceptually rich and visually immaculate. Magritte’s bowler hat, silvery moon-bowls and writhing dragons have all been meticulously rendered by Chong’s pliant practice. She has been known to replicate the glossy typographical designs of advertising and to create unique self-portraits that combine painting, performance, and photography.
The simple images and symbols utilised act as ciphers for a host of different myths, disciplines and artistic languages all of which are elegantly quoted by Chong. Skeletons, cockroaches and skulls iterate scientific illustrations and systems of knowledge; playful black and white portraits echo body art and obsessive and varied geometric patterns in paint recall the many movements of modern painting. Similarly ouroboros, fantastical lions and hedge-mazes allude to alternative beliefs; and lyrical yet totally believable product packages and paper ephemera directly quote the conventions of commercial arts. A sophisticated and wide range of materials is called upon, reflecting Chong’s ability to deftly combine craft with the conceptual. An example of this is the artist’s early practice of creating small figurative embroideries with her hair as well as that of others on white cotton. Different media are stretched to their very limit- found crockery and bowls have been fired with photographs of the artist curling gracefully all in black or gently painted with wingding-like symbols in silver and gold. Similarly, decadent monochromatic photographic prints of Chong performing eccentric choreographies have been interrupted with painterly patterns such as polka dots, drips and diamonds in acrylic, gouache, spray paint, liquid graphite, inks, glazes, gold pigments and silver leaf.
Here highly finished surfaces always belie hidden depths - an attention to patterning and polish whether it be precious gold and silver, or more prosaic paints is combined with images of the artist’s body, either printed on paper or fired into ceramics. Never erring far from the body and the self, Chong’s works resist deciphering and act as little monuments to attempts at belonging and an accompanying questioning of materials, rules and meaning.
Liyen Chong (b. 1979) currently lives in Houstin. She completed her Masters at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, Christchurch in 2003. She has exhibited works nationally and internationally in private galleries as well as public art institutions. Recent solo exhibitions include: Practicing Colour (Melanie Roger Gallery, 2015); Dreams, Circles, Moons, Fictions (Papakura Art Gallery, 2014); Enkyklios (Blue Oyster Project Space, Dunedin, 2013), Invocations (Melanie Roger Gallery, 2012), OF Positions and half Positions having several Marks at once (Gus Fisher, Auckland, 2011), Dasein: Being There (Page Blackie, Wellington, 2011) and New Works (Page Blackie, Wellington). She has also exhibited within curated exhibitions and group shows such as: Imagine Asia (Pataka Museum, 2014); Visiting Asia (Te Tuhi, 2015); A Different View (Gus Fisher Gallery, 2013), Crowning Glory (The Suter, Nelson, 2011), Knitted & Knotted (The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, 2011) and PHOTOGRAPHY (Melanie Roger Gallery, Auckland, 2011). In 2011 she was artist in residence at McCahon House (Titirangi) and Tylee Cottage (Whanganui) and in 2012 she participated in the Asia New Zealand Foundation residency at the Goyang Art Studio in South Korea and in 2015 at the Cemeti Art House Residency in Indonesia. In recent years she has lived and worked in Berlin and Portugal. Chong’s work is held in major public and private collections including: the Chartwell Collection (Auckland), The University of Canterbury Art Collection (Christchurch) and the National Gallery of Australia Collection (Canberra).
She currently has work in the curated group exhibition "Bad Hair Day" at the Christchurch Art Gallery 2016 - 2017.
For additional information and a complete CV please contact the gallery.
Virginia Were ‘Thinking through the Body’ in Art News New Zealand, Vol. 31 No. 3. Spring, 2011.
TEARDROPS, DINGBATS AND CHASING THE UNKNOWABLE: A CONVERSATION WITH LIYEN CHONG
Li-Ming Hu, Melanie Roger Gallery exhibition catalogue
DREAMS CIRCLES MOONS FICTIONS
Dr Cathy Tuato'o Ross, Papakura Art Gallery exhibition catalogue
USING ENCYCLOPAEDIA IMAGERY
Franky Strachan, Eyecontact exhibition review
THINKING THROUGH THE BODY
Virginia Were, Art News
OF POSITIONS AND HALF POSITIONS HAVING SEVERAL MARKS AT ONCE
Victoria Wynne-Jones, Gus Fisher Gallery catalogue
PHOTOGRAPHY AT MELANIE ROGER GALLERY
John Hurrell, Eyecontact review
Warwick Brown, Seen This Century, Godwit
THE ENCHANTMENT OF IRONY: 9 WORKS BY LIYEN CHONG
Kriselle Baker, exhibition catalogue
A HUMID DAY
A HUMID DAY
Kate Brettkelly-Chalmers, Gus Fisher Gallery catalogue
- LIYEN CHONG, RICHARD ORJIS & PATRICK POUND | Bright Lights, Soft Launch | Malcolm Smith Gallery
- Gavin Hurley, Liyen Chong & Patrick Pound | Bad Hair Day | Christchurch Art Gallery
- LIYEN CHONG | Auckland Art Fair Projects
- LIYEN CHONG | Art News Magazine
- TIFFANY SINGH, ERICA VAN ZON & LIYEN CHONG | Visiting Asia | Hastings City Art Gallery
- An Occasional Rant | Female representation in New Zealand Galleries
- ERICA VAN ZON & LIYEN CHONG | Visiting Asia | Te Tuhi Gallery
- LIYEN CHONG | Exhibition Catalogue
- Public Programmes | Liyen Chong Artist Talk and Marbling Demonstration
- LIYEN CHONG | The Infinate Horizontal and Vertical | Cemeti Art House, Indonesia
- ERICA VAN ZON, TIFFANY SINGH & LIYEN CHONG | Imagine Asia | Pataka Art Museum
- LIYEN CHONG | Asia New Zealand Foundation Residency, Indonesia
- LIYEN CHONG | Dreams Circles Moons Fictions | Sarjeant Gallery
- LIYEN CHONG publication
- LIYEN CHONG | ART NEW ZEALAND magazine
- ART NEW ZEALAND Magazine texts
- Liyen Chong | Dreams Circles Moons Fictions | Papakura Art Gallery
- Liyen Chong & Sam Mitchell | Gus Fisher Gallery
- Liyen Chong & Patrick Pound | Cross Over
- Liyen Chong | Corbans Estate Arts Centre