GA TALK 032 “Infrastructure and other Stories” by Heman Chong (Artist)

Calendars (2020-2096). 2004-2010. Heman Chong

GLOBAL ART TALK 032 “Infrastructure and other Stories” by Heman Chong (Artist)

For the past 20 years, I have worked in a way that relies heavily on improvisation. There is never a masterplan when I think about an artwork. I am stumbling from one decision to the next. I enjoy not knowing where I will end up with the work. I am often as surprised as the audience is surprised at the outcome. There are four parts within this talk which will form a possible (but incomplete) blueprint of my art practice. They are, ‘How to Live?’, ‘Chance’, ‘Infrastructure’, and ‘Fictions’. These main motifs often interact with each other and it is through these interactions where many of my works are produced. 
(Heman Chong)

About the Talk

Time/Date:2022.1.12 WED 18:30〜20:00
Admission:Free (Booking required)

*We will hold the Global Art Talk online this time to take preventive measures against the proliferation of COVID-19. Please kindly understand that we still have possibility to cancel this event depending on the circumstances.
*Information to access the online talk will be informed via email in advance.
*English>Japanese consecutive translation available.

Organized by:Kyoto University of the Arts, Graduate School of Art and Design Studies/HAPS

About the Speaker

Heman Chong is an artist whose work is located at the intersection between image, performance, situations and writing. His practice can be read as an imagining, interrogation and sometimes intervention into infrastructure as an everyday medium of politics. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at STPI, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Weserburg Museum, Jameel Arts Center, Swiss Institute New York, Art in General, Artsonje Center, Rockbund Art Museum, South London Gallery, NUS Museum, amongst many others. Chong is the co-director and founder (with Renée Staal) of The Library of Unread Books, a library made up of donated books previously unread by their owners.


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Connecting Kyoto and the World through Contemporary Art

The environment surrounding contemporary art has become vastly more complex over the past few decades. Faced with this situation, it is no easy task for artists to find a way to be active at a global level. Naturally, it is virtually impossible to get a firm grasp on the art scenes that are being produced concurrently all over the world. In particular, in neighboring Asian countries that are seeing rapid economic growth and modernization, there are more opportunities than ever before to show one’s work, taking into account the new art museums and art fairs that are being established, and the flourishing numbers of international exhibitions. Although global attention focused on this region has increased, the situation is quite different in Japan, where there is a general sense that the work of developing art-related institutions has been finished. However, it is precisely this state of affairs that has led to a renewed questioning of how global networks are constructed, a reconsideration of how institutionalization works, and the role of artists in society.
In Kyoto, art schools produce a large number of new artists each year. But what kinds of connections might one discover today between this center of traditional Japanese culture and the world of contemporary art that has grown ever more complex in this way? “Global Art Talk,” presented by HAPS and Kyoto University of the Arts, is a program where internationally active artists, curators, collectors, researchers, and gallerists, among others, are invited, and, through a series of dialogues, strives to provide a global perspective as well as deepen understanding.

The “GLOBAL ART TALK” is part of the Curatorial Research Program of the HAPS, which seeks to provide support to young emerging artists.

The Kyoto University of the Arts is dedicated to establishing an institution that will foster artists from Kyoto who aim to work in the contemporary art world at a global level.


Foreign Affairs #10. 2018. Digital reproduction on cover of ArtAsiaPacific, Issue 110. September/October 2018. Courtesy of ArtAsiaPacific.