Exhibition ‘GIRL GERM’ by Amy Wong
‘Girl Germ’ reveals fascination for the performativity of identity
my Wong conveys the philosopher Bertrand Russell’s concept of ‘accumulation means power/strength’ fully. With boundless energy she not only produces paintings, but also works on various projects which crossover between different artistic disciplines as the rule rather than the exception. She connects visual art forms with music, song and dance. In this way she creates a multidisciplinary body of work that, in the spirit of Russell, unites ideology with logic. Like the British philosopher, Wong is fascinated by processes of social change.
Bertrand Russell popularized philosophy; Amy Wong philosophizes popular media. She does so from a fundamental position that Russell propagated in the first half of the last century: that something could, according to him, only be immoral when it harms others. Amy Wong in her own way pushes the boundaries of good taste, decency, aesthetics, politeness, through raunchiness and tenderness cohabitating with one another to question the ethics of dominant culture. Painting is a form of breathing for her. Her paintings are often pastiches in which she openly refers to the work of illustrious predecessors, which she sometimes blatantly copies.
With verve, she paints a remake of ‘Le déjeuner sur l’herbe’ by Edouard Manet. In other paintings she jumps frank and free from Japanese kawaii nail art to obscene hand gestures and expressions of adolescent desire, and from uncensored and provocative balloon lyrics and YouTube-stills to images that refer to dance parties.
Amy Wong is amongst other things, inspired by mixtapes and the aesthetics of teenage girlhood bedroom interiors. She relies on the complete range of popular culture that she effortlessly connects with cultural and historical characteristics from other times, cultures and areas of experience. She connects issues of gender, social class, race and sexuality with personal narrative. Visual art is a subjective factor for which her own identity, struggle and worldview form the basis. It’s not without reason that photos from her personal archive, and drawings from sketchbooks often act as a catalyst. With her performances and social artistic projects she joins together international genres including karaoke culture, hip hop, R&B, throat singing, disco, and Chinese folk songs.
In her sound projects Amy Wong is looking for the opportunity to join topics that also exist in her paintings and drawings. With her paintings she makes the personal into public property, while her mixtapes and musical performances are based on songs that are connected to specific places, times and circumstances. She characterizes the mixtapes as an ‘act of love’. They refer to a strongly felt need to share emotions or events. In essence this need doesn’t differ from the urge to create paintings and to show them to others. Both expressions underline the need to share experiences. Through this need Amy Wong enters the domain of an unlimited potential that is infinite and at the same time very close to her personal life and to those of her generation.
Keeping this in mind, it is only logical that Amy Wong named one of her paintings: ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want.’ Through her work she builds a bridge to like-minded people, including dissenters with whom she feels connected. She does so purposefully, sincerely and with the necessary perspective.
Pastiches, crossovers, figures of speech and clichés are style means that give her the space to intensify life and art, to embrace them and make them bearable without the tone becoming too heavy. The freedom she experiences as an artist, is used in an optimal way. Her energetic, expressive, loose and flamboyant style of painting, the light-footed mixtapes and the energetic musical performances reveal complementary facets of a lively spirit starved for development, discovery and interaction.
Exhibition: Amy Wong – Girl Germ, till 9th of July.