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.