Pera Museum, in collaboration with Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), is one of the main venues for this year’s 15th Istanbul Biennial from 16 September to 12 November 2017. Through the biennial, we will be sharing detailed information about the artists and the artworks.
The German Romantic philosopher Novalis once said: ‘Philosophy is properly homesickness; the wish to be everywhere at home.’ The text-based installation environments of Tsang Kin-Wah employ religious and philosophical references to comment on a search for meaning within history, politics, religion and self. His works utilise computer technology, animation, and multi-media audio-visual settings. Initially seeming to be decorative, fluid arrangements, these moving installations reveal themselves to be made up of words, engaged in a philosophically astute concrete poetry.
Drawing on Judeo-Christian eschatology, metaphysics, existentialism and the words of the Bible, the seven videos in ‘The Seven Seals’ (2009–ongoing) refer to apocalyptic themes: philosophical and religious concepts about the end of the world. Their form echoes a notion of eternal recurrence – these floating, animated arrangements of words are set on an infinite loop.
At the Istanbul Biennial, Tsang is showing a multi-channel video installation from the series, The Fourth Seal – HE Is To No Purpose And HE Wants To Die For The Second Time (2010). Roughly six and a half minutes in length, it presents a number of animated words spanning a trajectory of life and death, struggle and overcoming, vanity and power, ascent and descent. Screened on the floor, this dizzying expression of fear and doom suggests inner spiritual turmoil and a sense of not-belonging in the world – an eternal homesickness. In the end, this slithering, swirling room-filling installation convenes into a philosophical quest for meaning and belonging.