Boon Hock in 2014

Boon Hock in 2014
2015 | Fine art archival print, audio output from mini speaker, continuous loop | Edition of 3 + 2 AP

As twentieth century English writer Virginia Woolf once said, “In order to make you understand, to tell you my life, I must tell you a story”.

So begins the visual and textual autobiography of Boon Hock, a Singaporean Chinese salary man in his mid-40s undergoing midlife crisis. Over a period of 365 days, Boon Hock created selfies and his immediate environment daily, which I collected and compiled methodically into a Gregorian calendar format according to the date of creation.

The narrative takes further twists and turns. Short text messages and musings accompanying his images were assembled into a continuous prose re-edited by me in a playful co-authorship to reveal subtle and hidden subtexts.

And like any typical story, cancellations and corrections are part and parcel of “Boon Hock in 2014”. Reflecting upon Boon Hock's devotion to the Taoist belief in destiny, I undergo an almost ritualistic fashion of plotting and re-plotting Boon Hock's geomancy chart of zi wei dou shu every month. Resembling a palimpsest, the portraiture of Boon Hock through his religious faith is rendered mutable and fluid.

Seemingly prosaic and mundane, the series etches out a complex and multi-layered inner portraiture of the subject matter, the metaphorical average man. It is a summation of time perceived and experienced from parallel, sometimes intersecting positions of the artist and subject. Most crucially, the work subverts various conventions – including the notion of the selfie, as well as the typical photographic narrative clearly defined by start, climax and ending.

Fluid and open-ended, it is an intimate exploration and invitation for us to ponder upon human existence, social invisibility, power structures, and the direct influence of artistic production on individuals.


installation view here