Artists to watch – Interview with Wong Ping

In celebration of Hong Kong Art Month, we chat to four of the city’s most exciting young artists about how they launched their careers and their plans for the future

This multimedia artist, whose tongue-in-cheek animations have been grabbing the attention of art critics from Hong Kong and overseas, is definitely one to look out for. Do not be fooled by his childlike cartoons, Wong Ping’s work often deals with local social and political issues with brutal honesty. Wong has previously had exhibitions in Berlin and Paris and was commissioned to create designs by fashion labels including the likes of Prada. Hosting a new solo exhibition at Edouard Malingue Gallery in  Central until March 11, Wong tells us what makes animation so unique.

What attracted you to animation in the first place?
When I first started out I was not familiar with animation at all. But in my job I was exposed to some post-production software. Eventually I began to experiment and I found animation to be a really great medium to express my imaginative world. There’s just so much freedom in animation. I can create my protagonists to be a bit ugly, or I
can make them dead. It’s a cathartic process that allows me to express myself  independently.

Many regard animation as children’s entertainment. How do you frame and create works as an art form?
While the majority of animation is indeed children’s entertainment, there have already been many outstanding pieces of animation used in artworks. I believe when I use
such bright vibrant colours, in a style that is childlike and cartoonish to tell some of my crazy stories, viewers are drawn in by the childish images. But really, viewers have
actually absorbed some mature content without knowing. I find that juxtaposition to be really interesting.

In the past your work has dealt with concepts of sexuality and societal observation. How are these issues important to you?
I believe sexuality to be a visual language. It’s not necessarily the main issue that I address, but rather I use sexuality to express other issues. For example, police brutality and the ongoing problem of metal cage homes.

Because of the cartoon-like filter, is it easier for you and for viewers to explore more taboo subjects?
Absolutely. If my artworks feature real people and real performances, it’s more likely that audiences will shake their heads with disapproval and leave the show. Animation allows me to be a bit bold in expressing a darker side of myself, while viewers would still find my work to be amusing even after seeing the stories.

What’s next for you? Do you have any new projects that you’re working on?
I just opened my second solo exhibition in Hong Kong titled Who’s The Daddy. Let me have a break! [laughs]

Who’s The Daddy. Until Mar 11. Edouard Malingue Gallery, 6/F,
33 Des Voeux Rd C, Central, 2810 0317;

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