BORN HONG KONG, CHINA IN 1981.
GRADUATES WITH A PHILOSOPHY DEGREE (BA HONS) FROM KING’S COLLEGE, LONDON IN 2001
LIVES AND WORK BETWEEN BERLIN & HONG KONG
Joseph Tong creates conceptual works through a multidisciplinary approach and a variety of media, which includes the elements of oil and ink painting, sculpture, photography, site-specific installation and media art that examine the physical reality, whilst exploring notions of alternative, multi-dimensional potentialities. At times, juxtaposing various theories, genres and processes within the confines of a single work, utilising geometric shapes and organic forms as the principal components of abstraction. A visual linguist, Tong challenges the traditional notion of the passive viewer by achieving a sense of tension between viewer and the work itself, by using / combining highly aestheticised materials such as structured Plexiglas, dichroic film, calligraphy paper, and gauze in his works.
In Spiegel im Spiegel (2014) the viewer explores the immersive and metaphorical possibilities of reflection. The mirrored surface reflects a physical reality (in which the viewer is present) and yet the illusory content (or visual context) created by the geometric shapes within the framed void allows the viewer to ocularly roam into an alternative reality beyond. Here, Tong formalises the coincidental and emphasises the conscious process of articulation that is behind the seemingly random compositions. In L’apparition (2014), the series question the visual manifestation of the condition of dimensional potentialities. As the mirrored effect of the surface Plexiglas reveals - by reflecting - its surroundings the underlying topographical content entices the viewer to probe beyond the reflective surface.
In Moment Between Thoughts (2016) there is a sudden departure from the rigid components and mediums employed in previous series; by forging and conditioning a more supplemental yet naturalistic way of expression (for example: with charcoal delicately rendered on gauze, reminiscent of fishing nets). Furthermore, this series explores the paradigms of dimensional potentiality through a mode of three-dimensional representation (in contrast to other series whereby the topographical surface tends to be visible beneath a screen of Plexiglas). In Substitute for Sorrow (2017) an emphasis has been placed on the artist’s heritage, specifically referencing Chinese traditional painting. The artist explores the quintessential Chinese medium of ink wash painting by employing new forms of expressions through the utilisation and praxis of radical techniques, such as the use of a nebuliser to produce the sporadic ink stains that disseminate the calligraphy paper beneath the surface Plexiglas.
Tong, therefore, creates simulations / atmospheres / settings in which familiar objects are altered or detached from their natural functions, applying specific combinations and certain manipulations of mediums to inspire different contexts; thereby questioning the conditions of appearance of an image. This allows the artist to create a visual narrative in which to debate, dissect and evaluate principle doctrines of our physical universe versus that of a virtual / parallel reality and metaphysical state of being.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
SYMPHONIC DUALITY, THE REPUBLIC, ARTS FORUM, LISBON (2017)
SPIEGEL IM SPIEGEL, WOESKE GALLERY, BERLIN (2014)
DREAMSCAPES, HONG KONG ECONOMIC & TRADE OFFICE, BERLIN (2013)
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
SHAPING SPACE, GALERIE ISA, MUMBAI (2017)
IM AUGENBLICK, GALERIE VALENTIEN, STUTTGART (2017)
ART KARLSRUHE, GALERIE VALENTIEN BOOTH, KARLSRUHE (2017)
ART BASEL / ART CENTRAL , OPERA GALLERY BOOTH, HONG KONG (2016)
GROUP SHOW, GREIS & SCHIEFER GALLERY, FRANKFURT (2016)
LOOKING FORWARD, LOOKING BACKWARDS, BERNHEIMER CONTEMPORARY, BERLIN (2015)
HIGHLIGHTS, OPERA GALLERY, PARIS, LONDON, MONACO, ZURICH (2015)
BLOOMBERG EMERGING ARTISTS, HONG KONG CIVIC CENTRE, HONG KONG (2014)
CHAIM SHEBA + CHRISTIES AUCTION, SCHLOSS BELLEVUE, BERLIN (2014)
CHAIM SHEBA + CHRISTIES AUCTION, REICHSTAGSPRÄSIDENTENPALAIS, BERLIN (2013)
SAMMLUNG WEMHÖNER, HERFORD, GERMANY
SWIRE COLLECTION, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
SAMMLUNG STRELETZKI, BERLIN, GERMANY