Gayle Chong Kwan

Photographie, vidéo, son, installation,
Vit et travaille à Londres, Angleterre

Image : (DR) Gayle Chong Kwan


Gayle Chong Kwan, born 1973, in Scotland. Lives and works in London. As well as a BA Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art, she has a MSc in Communications from Stirling University and a BA in Politics and Modern History from Manchester University.

In 2005 she received a Pepinieres Europeenes Pour Jeunes Artistes Award and an Arts Council England Award. Recent residencies and exhibitions include: ‘Conversations’, Tate Britain, London; ‘Different Worlds’, National Portrait Gallery, London; UNIDEE at Fondazione Pistoletto, Italy; Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester; Opera North, Leeds; Great Eastern Hotel, London; Macroproyecto de Moravia, Colombia, and Venice Printmaking, Italy. Forthcoming exhibitions / events include: Solo exhibition, MAC, Birmingham; COAST Residency, A Foundation, Liverpool; Adventure Ecology, London; an exhibition at the European Forum Emerging Creation, Neumünster Abbey, Luxembourg; and a project with Fondazione Pistoletto, Italy.

Work directions

Gayle Chong Kwan works with photography, video, sound, installation, and performance. Her work is often context specific or involves people in rituals of exchange, such as food or trade, to explore ideas of history, the senses and memory. The personal and global politics of food and tourism have been a major focus of Chong Kwan’s work to date.  Chong Kwan has shown extensively in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Main projects and works

2004 ‘Cockaigne’, Commission, Autograph ABP, London

A series of twelve large-format photographs based on 14th Century ideas of a glutton’s paradise. Each depicts a mythical landscape constructed from a single foodstuff, which appear enticing but on closer inspection verge on the repellent, the cheese in ‘Resort’ is plastic and slimy, the dried meat in ‘Babel’ beginning to sweat. Exploring the exotic in tourism, myth and Fine Art, the scenes share horizons; visually linking up into a fantastical landscape reminiscent of scenarios created by Dufour in the 19th Century.

2006 ‘Adonia’, Mothership Collective, South London Gallery, London

The re-creation of Adonia, an ancient Greek festival, a sensory celebration and metaphoric space in which women discuss and lament unfulfilled desires using spices and lettuce, throughout the night and on the normally unused rooftops of their houses. A week preceding the festival, held in mid summer, women planted quick-germinating seeds of lettuce in pots. They were watered and fertilised until shoots appeared, when they were then deprived of water. When the seedlings began to die it was time for the festival to begin. Adonia involved: throwing small clay pots with germinated lettuce and plant labels describing unfulfilled desires from a temporary scaffolding structure installed in the gallery; making and hanging Inux birds on trees at dawn to call lost lovers; making sensory shrines to previous lovers; sleeping on herb or lettuce pillows to arouse or dampen desires; and recording unfulfilled desires on video whilst wearing lettuce masks of disguise.

2006 ‘Manipulated Memory Tasting Booth’, Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, UK

The Manipulated Memory Tasting Booth plays with authenticity and fashion in Chinese art, food and architecture. A selection of pre-packaged, commercially available, spring rolls are provided to taste. Visitors are given the opportunity to listen to recorded memories or fictional stories associated with the food, left by previous visitors. They are also invited to record their own message. In the same way that ‘Chinese’ food undergoes a kind of translation or manipulation into other countries tastes, each memory or sensory recollection is a creative act affected by the circumstances in which it is experienced. Based on the design of Luke Lightfoot’s Chinoiserie Room, created for the quintessentially English Claydon House in Buckinghamshire in the 1760s. The Manipulated Memory Tasting Booth features elements found in the intricate and delicate fanciful plasterwork, including smiling Chinese men holding up door features.

2007 ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’, Platform for Art, London

Commissioned by London Underground art programme Platform for Art to work with station staff, catering college students, and market traders to create fantastical underground sensory landscapes around London Bridge, Southwark and Borough. Taking its title from Jules Verne’s eponymous novel that illustrates an extraordinary underground world and refers to bodily digestion and the cooking of the earth, Journey to the Centre of the Earth weaves together science-fictional ideas of escapism, imaginary subterranean travel and sensory worlds with the capital’s gastronomic heritage. The project also brings together people from many of London’s distinct and varied cultures to delve into their personal culinary histories as well as that of London Underground. A three-part exhibition – ‘Hollow Earth’ wrapping around Southwark Underground station, ‘Core’ installed in a large-scale pedestrian underground tunnel at London Bridge station and ‘Intra’, installed on either side of the entrance to London Bridge underground station.


Gayle Chong Kwan

Gayle est en résidence de décembre 2007 à janvier 2008 à la cité internationale des arts, Paris


Modifié le 13-May-09

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