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Wong Ping: Heart Digger

Wong Ping: Heart Digger

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Wong Ping
Heart Digger, 2019

Medium: Colour giclee print on Hahnemuehle ultra smooth 305 gsm
Image size: 838 x 594 mm
Paper size: 884 x 640 mm
Edition of 40

Courtesy the Artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery

This edition was made especially for Camden Art Centre on the occasion of Wong Ping's exhibition 'Heart Digger', 2019. The edition tells a story that connects the two venues: the Victorian building and garden in Hampstead, and the temporary gallery space on Cork Street, W1. Elements of the exhibition are recognisable in the print, including the heart-shaped emoji that emerged from Camden Art Centre's roof, and the giant inflatable giraffe in the garden. During the installation of the exhibition, the artist dug a heart-shaped hole in Camden Art Centre's garden, partially burying the giraffe. Its neck emerged from the shallow grave and its severed head made an appearance as part of the installation at the Cork Street gallery.

The artist has written a short story about this event:

Though I do not have a lover yet, I wish to dig a hole in Camden Arts Centre’s garden. For my future love. Do not ask me why I have to bury her. With love comes a certain amount of hate. Who knows, perhaps one day, when hate outweighs love, I can use this hole.

And so I start digging a heart-shaped hole in the garden. I keep on digging until the shovel meets some kind of tender flesh. I dig further, unearthing a giraffe’s neck, dozens of people struggling to crawl out of its cross-section. They look familiar. Turns out they are Hong Kong’s Chief Executive and officials. They’ve buried the giraffe’s neck in the backyard of the government headquarters so that the Chief Executive and the officials can escape the city quietly via the neck as a tunnel which will, over time, naturally decompose. What a way to protect our earth.

It’s no wonder that since 2 million people took to the street they seem to have disappeared. I sympathise with their lack of WiFi access inside the giraffe’s neck and offer the Chief Executive an update on Hong Kong. I show her images of the graffiti that the protesters left in the Legislative Council after storming it. They wrote: “It was you who taught me peaceful marches are futile” and “There are no rioters, only tyranny”. She says, “Art truly moves my heart! Are these the works of Banksy?” Three young people protesting against her administration committed suicide; she was hardly moved.

I refuse to let them out of the hole. I fire tear gas at the giraffe’s neck and sew up the opening so they can have a taste of the suffering they’ve put hundreds of thousands through. Tears stream down the Chief Executive’s face uncontrollably; still they seem more natural than her acting during the TV interview.

This hole was meant for my beloved, but these people are not lovely at all. I cut out the part of the neck where they are hiding and rent a place in Cork Street for storage. 22 years since the handover, at last, they no longer have to act so furtively, now that they’ve returned to the embrace of their adoptive mother.

Wong Ping, 2019

In 2019, Wong Ping (b. 1984, Hong Kong) had solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Basel – Golden Shower – and CAPRI, Dusseldorf, Germany, and won the Ammodo Tiger Short Competition at the 48th International Film Festival, Rotterdam. In 2018 he was included in New Museum Triennial Songs of Sabotage and One Hand Clapping, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, both New York. Wong was artist in residence at the Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art, Manchester, 2015.

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