Contemporary by Angela Li is proud to present Tonight the Light is Almost Sweet, Beijing-based Malaysian artist Wong Perngfey’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Wong Perngfey graduated from the Malaysian Institute of Art, and lived and worked in the artist village in Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia before moving to Beijing, China. The artist’s style is experimental and versatile. He holds that he has inseparable relationships with places that he has lived, and that each of his paintings manifests the impact these places have on him.
To Wong Perngfey, to paint is to believe that there is something worth remembering. He projects his history and longings onto spaces he inhabits, and in turn these spaces fill up his memories. His paintings document his stories and roots in places he has lived in, evoke memories as he reminisces, and are clues for people tomorrow to ponder on. Each painting captures one specific moment of the artist’s life, and a train of artworks chronicles his ongoing experiences and adventures. Wong believes that his works manifest “the desire to achieve balance between permanence and change”.
As memories are subjective and ambiguous, Wong Perngfey is not pinning them down with a representational style. His paintings are vibrant and abstract, full of dynamics and complexities. When Wong first arrived in Beijing in 2010, his artworks still bore the traces he brought with him from the Southeast Asian countries he lived in, such as recognizable settings of Indonesia and Malaysia. Now his palm trees and cottages have given way to abstraction. His works showcase not only his stylistic development as an artist, but also his struggles and evolution as a man in diaspora.
Wong Perngfey was born in Malaysia in 1974. He obtained the Scholarship Award of the Malaysian Institute of Art and graduated in 1998. Wong was awarded Artist Residency in Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia in 2002. From 2008 to 2010, he was based in the artist village of Yogyakarta in Central Java, Indonesia, where he experienced a vibrant creative energy through interacting with local and international artists. In 2010, he moved to Beijing, China and has lived and worked as a full time artist since. His artworks are collected by the National Visual Arts Gallery (Kuala Lumpur), Bank Negara Malaysia Museum Art Gallery (Kuala Lumpur) and Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Kuala Lumpur).