Good Days Will Come
A poem by Lu You, legendry poet of the China’s Southern Song Dynasty, sits behind contemporary Malaysian artist Wong Chee Meng’s new exhibition at Wei-Ling Contemporary: Good Days Will Come. Inspired by his travels, the poet wrote, “After trudging through endless mountains and rivers that leave doubt on whether there is a way out, one is welcomed with shades of willows, the glittery shine of blossoms, and a lovely village.” Similar to the English saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining,” Lu You speaks about overcoming struggles using the power of a positive mindset. It is a mantra that brings out the strength to carry on, for those who are facing uncertainties in life.
The artist’s 2017 solo exhibition, Have You Ever, emphasized hope and opportunity, through symbolic figures, colourful palettes and compositions. Although optimism has always been the underlying theme behind his practice, it has certainly become more crucial during times like this. The artist decided to extend his paradigm in seeing new perspectives unfolding through his latest works. Through this new series, he expresses a bolder attitude in the way he views hope; in order to achieve something, one must first have a deep longing for it, and strive for it with yearning eyes. When the world seems to have fallen apart, it is our thirst for a better tomorrow, that will save us all.
To the artist, hope itself is a mysterious thing. It is similar to faith in the sense that it acts as a visualization of what we truly believe, yet at the same time being intangible. Hope blurs imagination and reality, as it refers to a conception that may or may not materialize In the way we foresee it. As a human being, we tend to invest our thought, time, and energy in what we have confidence in, although fate might suggest otherwise, and lead us onto a Different path altogether. Regardless of its ambiguity, hope allows us to feel a sense of persistence and contentment in moving forward. A reason to fight.
With this direction of thought, Wong Chee Meng worked with familiar visual elements including Chinese homophones, hidden numbers, lucky phrases and charms: iconic symbols found in Chinese culture, believed to carry positive energies and blessings. Hiding key elements within his paintings’ multiple layers, the artist invites the audience to slowly reveal them. He was inspired by the science of optical illusion in applying the “anaglyph 3D” effect to his paintings, achieved by encoding one image to one coloured filter. The result is a painting that reveals three different images, as seen through a red-tinted filter, cyan-tinted filter, or without a filter. An approach that represents different perspectives based on how we choose to view life. While one filter reveals a landscape, an animal, or an object, the other shows a number. More than a superstition, these hidden symbols and numbers serve as signifiers of better days ahead. As the artist believes, life works in a cycle, and it is only a matter of time that we find our way out of these hard times. Good days will come.
About Wong Chee Meng (B. 1975)
Wong Chee Meng’s view on the world is skewed by the blurring of lines and double images – the result of an accident that left him with permanent damage to his vision. Playing on the way he sees things, in multiple layers, sometimes crossing over and overlapping, his works are complex and multi-faceted. By meticulously painting layer upon layer of images, he camouflages many stories and hidden vistas, creating harmonious compositions that reveal deeper references, as we focus and look beyond the surface.
Active as an artist since 1996, Wong Chee Meng has been represented on numerous local and international art platforms. His work can be labelled as Contemporary Pop with a focus on Social Realism. He was selected as the artist in residence at the Mali Hom Residency in Penang in 2007 and represented Malaysia at an exposition of Malaysian art in Havana Cuba in 2006. His works have been widely collected by both private and public institutions and can be seen in the collections of Axiata, Rimbun Dahan, ABN Amro Bank, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Visual Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
‘Good Days Will Come’ by Wong Chee Meng is featured at Wei-Ling Gallery from 13 November to 31 December 2020.
Wei-Ling Gallery is located at 8 Jalan Scott, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Admission hours are Tuesday – Saturday, from 10am-5pm.
Exhibition is open by appointment only. For appointments and further assistance, please contact +60322601106 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for appointment.