Wong Ping: In-Between States

Wong Ping’s works are characterised by absurdist humour, social dynamics, underground culture, and tongue-in-cheek unseriousness that reveals a vivid and colourful world with sinister undertones. 

Wong Ping, False Awakening, 2024. Photo: Annabel Preston

A giant reclining figure pops with vibrant colours: his eyes open, identity unknown, and motives unclear—this bizarre figure is as shapeless as it is defined, as uncanny as it is familiar. Speaking of False Awakening, Wong maintains a casual mischievousness. He says one thing but perhaps wants you to think something else. The trick here is to look for what lies in between.

Wong references the reclining Buddhas with exquisitely detailed soles in Thailand when illustrating the figure’s large feet, positioned at the mural’s bottom right. In a swift moment, he stretched out his hand to point out the resemblance between his thumb’s fingerprint and the spirals on the figure’s toes. He adds jokingly that the barred window at the top left corner matches the prison-like aesthetic of the grey wall, and the placement of the reclining figure is based on the outline of the slanted truss. ‘I much prefer working with the diagonal shape of the stairs to that of a regular wall. I could do something more eccentric with an odd shape,’ says Wong. 

Bringing together seemingly unrelated elements, his work is playful yet defies explanation. For him, murals are different from animation in that there is no spoken narrative in the work itself, and is more open to the audience’s interpretation. Out of the blue, he shares a past out-of-body experience and his fascination with related online videos. He calls such experiences dreaming within a dream: a dislocated state that borders sleep and wakefulness, which, to his surprise, is something many people yearn for.

Tied down by a pink rope and barred from the sunny sky, the nameless figure is confined to an unfamiliar space, with his consciousness travelling somewhere else. Is he waiting for somebody or something, or is he just waking up? 

Wong Ping’s False Awakening is an exploration of the ambiguous state of body and mind. It is shown at the ‘Festival Lounge’ at M+ as part of the ‘Asian Avant-Garde Film Festival’.

No items found.

Latest articles