HEMAN CHONG in collaboration with ANTHONY MARCELLINI, Interview(s) #01-50, 2012. 


Heman Chong In Collaboration with Anthony Marcellini

Wilkinson Gallery
Singapore UK

The long rows of mirror-topped tables lined with hundreds of objects at London’s Wilkinson Gallery look like stalled conveyor belts. The eye skits across them from misshapen metal tools to Artforum ads that have undergone origami incisions. Identical geometric paintings, resembling untitled book covers, are propped between bookends, bound by a ribbon, or else stacked one atop the other. The manufactured, handmade and natural are juxtaposed. A geode, half covered in glossy grey paint, contrasts with the many clocks, alarms and pocket watches, all in the palest shade of matte grey. Then there are the insistently store-bought and unaltered objects, utterly uncanny: two piles of chrome paperclips gleam celestially under the spotlights.

What are these many disparate objects? “Interview(s)” is a collaboration between Singaporean artist Heman Chong and Sweden-based artist Anthony Marcellini who, over the course of four months, each collected 100 objects separately without discussion before meeting a week before the exhibition to assemble the installation. The two artists performed what they term “a series of assumptions about the social life of objects” and enumerated the power of objects—the transference of values between individuals and objects and the mutability of narrative and objecthood—in a seven-point manifesto included in the press release.  By pulling apart the seams of collaboration, Chong and Marcellini collaborated by not collaborating, by physically occupying different spaces and by not recording the interaction that eventually did transpire between them.

The exhibition, with its invisible and distanced interactions, brings to mind the contradictions of digital technology and the anything-handmade zeitgeist of today. The social phenomenon of websites like Etsy—which has recently come under fire due to its promotion of manufactured products as hand-crafted goods—as well as the vast collection of images on Pinterest and our online “saved for later” folders all betray our desire to will these images into existence. Approaching the centennial of Duchamp’s readymade, “Interview(s)” might just be an updated readymade addressing desire in the digital age. 

The show has been extended to March 28.
Jo-ey Tang is an artist who works between Paris and New York City. He organizes exhibitions under the name The Notary Public and is picture editor of n+1.