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Cecile Chong: _other Nature

February 23, 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Smack Mellon
92 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201 United States
(718) 834-8761

Smack Mellon is pleased to announce the start of its 2020 exhibition season with two solo exhibitions, Really Large Numbers: The Observatory and Cecile Chong: _other Nature, opening concurrently on Saturday, January 18, 2020. In both exhibitions, the artists depict the effects of traumatic events on the landscape, contemplating humanity and our relationship to the earth and nature. Really Large Numbers (Julia Oldham and Chad Stayrook) imagine the earth after it has been ravaged by climate change and foresee an uncertain future for its human and non-human inhabitants. In her project, Cecile Chong ruminates on the intricate connections between nature and culture, searching for ways to transcend barriers through commonalities in our ties to the natural world.

Cecile Chong’s work addresses ideas of cultural interaction and interpretation, as well as the commonalities humans share in our relationship to nature and to each other. She layers materials, identities, and histories through her mixed media work in painting, sculpture, and installation. Inspired by materials as signifiers, she is interested in how we acquire and share cultural heritage, and how world cultures continue to overlap and interact in increasingly complex ways. With uncertainty looming in everything from politics to the economy to global climate patterns, Chong is concerned with the fragility of our civilization despite the universality of its cultural underpinnings. Through her work she looks at traditional artifacts and imagines what tangible relics we might leave for future generations and what these descendants might learn about who we were and how we lived.

Chong’s multimedia installation at Smack Mellon, titled _other Nature, explores the deep-seated links between nature and culture and the damage caused by the imposition of social, political and physical barriers. As Chong puts it, “When we alienate ourselves from nature and brutalize its delicate balance, we cut ourselves off from our common cultural roots.” Her immersive, glow-in-the-dark installation evokes danger, fear, and risk in an environment that is simultaneously beautiful, disorienting, and haunting. Bisected by an imposing sculptural fence, the darkened space recalls a lush, thriving scene on one side and a ravaged, contaminated landscape on the other. The audio and video pieces playing in the background create a tense, foreboding presence. Chong’s “guagua” sculptures populate the installation, like swaddled babies that represent humanity in an unsullied, but vulnerable state.

https://www.smackmellon.org/exhibition/cecile-chong-_other-nature/