明年 / Next Year / L’Année Prochaine
3 channel video installation
“In 明年 | Next Year | L’Année Prochaine, Ming Wong performs the male and female roles in fragments taken from Last Year in Marienbad (1961), written by Alain Robbe-Grillet and directed by Alain Resnais. The film is celebrated for its innovative cinematic language – the camera reflecting the pace of the mind through repetition, reversal, freeze frame, and white out-capturing reality, memory, and illusion while inventing a sequential order different even from the internal logic of the montage.
In the original film, the memory loss of the main character inhibits her thought process and time-”next year” compressed into now-loses all meaning.
Ming Wong’s video works are generally based on excerpts of art films. From beginning to end, Last Year at Marienbad never makes reference to a specific location, and Ming Wong takes advantage of this fact to re-stage the work at Marienbad Café and Fuxing Park, both in Shanghai. Taking place in a café named after a French art film and a park combining French and Chinese gardening styles, neighborhoods and apartments that reference Chinese and Western architecture, the film hints at the notion that cultural perceptions of time remain unfixed. As a Singaporean artist based in Berlin, the artist’s cultural identity has often been used in interpretation of his work. However, cinema is inherently “transnational” and is used by the artist to reveal the synthesis of cultures. In 明年| Next Year | L’Année Prochaine, this is most clearly viewed in post-colonial Shanghai’s “Western-style” Marienbad Café, where Wong’s cinematic language and conscious structuring of the film are emphasized.”
Excerpt from the UCCA exhibition text by curator Venus Lau.