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Ming Wong

Production: Asakusa
Supported by Arts Council Tokyo
30 November - 29 December, 2019 12:00-19:00 *Open Fri. Sat. Sun.

12:00-19:00, 30 NOV - 29 DEC 2019

Opening Reception: 6-8pm, Friday 29 November, 2019
"Pillow Talk" Part I: 1-2pm, Saturday 30 November, 2019
"Pillow Talk" Part II: 6-7pm, Saturday 30 November, 2019


Asakusa is delighted to announce the opening of "Fake Daughter's Secret Room of Shame", a solo exhibition by Berlin-based Ming Wong. Wong builds layers of cinematic language, social structures, identity and introspection through his re-telling of world cinema and popular culture in his videos, installations and performances. With imperfect translations and re-enactments, he probes how culture, gender and identity are constructed, reproduced and circulated, as well as how these acts feed into the politics of representation. His new work, produced this summer in Tokyo, references the Nikkatsu Roman Porno known for its erotic storytelling and sensational content. In this work, Wong performs as a "fake daughter" entering the films, and intends to queer the sexual hegemony of the pornographic film genre, in which the male-centered perspective—the depiction toward the apex of the phallus—is constantly being questioned and deviated.

The Nikkatsu Roman Porno was a downmarket, softcore pornographic film series released between 1971 and 1988, said to have incubated intrepid, blossoming young directors and actors of the proceeding generations in modern Japanese cinema. Wong's new work interweaves narratives of three actresses from this distinctive series: Junko Miyashita as a mysterious woman from Woman with Red Hair (1979, dir. Tatsumi Kumashiro), Hiroko Isayama as Harumi from Ichijo’s Wet Lust (1972, dir. Tatsumi Kumashiro), an over-confident young stripper eager to compete with the legendary stripper Sayuri Ichijo; and finally, Naomi Tani, the “Queen of SM”, practicing kinbaku bondage in Rope Cosmetology (1978, dir. Shogoro Nishimura). They were all seen as sexual objects of lust and desire, stirring the imagination of male viewers in their own different ways.

Within the new project, three Nikkatsu actresses are performed by a single fictional character—a “fake daughter” and the artist himself. The term “fake daughter” (weiniang) refers to a man with a feminine appearance or a man who transforms his look to appear feminine by disguising, crossdressing, or using make-up, and is a Chinese translation of the Japanese word otokono-ko, derived from 1980s gender-neutral characters in boys’ manga magazines. Referencing a fake daughter's digital video production, while honoring the low-budget conventions of early Japanese pink films, the work was produced and shot on location with minimal studio equipment purchased online—ring lights, a few light boxes, and just one iPhone.

Popular culture is perhaps destined to fade along with the development of new technology. The Nikkatsu Roman Porno series was overshadowed by the accessibility of home video players and adult videos (AV) in the early 80s. Consequently, dedicated theaters for Nikkatsu films also slowly disappeared, which dismantled the space for a pleasure of pornography (and of ejaculation) into more enclosed domestic spaces. An alternative today is the social networking platform; yet it fails to provide a safe zone for fake daughters as their presence is monitored under surveillance and continues to be a publicly unkown "secret".*

"Fake Daughter's Secret Room of Shame" is a place of an event and experimentation for the body, its gendering, and its performative gesture. Responding to the venue's physical architecture, it constantly travels between the 1970s and the online media space of today. The exhibition space becomes a zone of desire reclaimed from the male-dominant cinema history, and creates a version of queer soft porn—peeped only through the tight aperture of a smartphone lens.

In conjunction with the exhibition, an opening performance and “pillow talks” by the artist are scheduled on Saturday, November 30. The exhibition catalogue and 2020 calendar, Eros Schedule Book: Fake Daughter's Secret Room of Shame will be published on this occasion and available for sale at the venue.

This project is realized through the generous support of Arts Council Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture.

*In September 2019, Beijing-based start-up company TikTok announced the introduction of new guidelines that prohibit content in support of LGBTQ+ initiatives on its platform — presumably due to pressure from the current Chinese government.

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Ming Wong (b.1971, Singapore) builds layers of cinematic language, social structures, identity and introspection through his re-telling of world cinema and popular culture in his videos, installations and performances. Recent exhibitions include Asian Art Biennale, Taichung, Taiwan (2019); Busan Biennale, South Korea (2018); Dakar Biennale, Senegal (2018); Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2018); SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin (2018). His solo exhibitions include UCCA, Beijing (2015); Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo (2013); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2012); Hara Museum, Tokyo (2011); etc. He has participated in Sydney Biennale (2016 & 2010); Asia Pacific Triennial (2015); Shanghai Biennale (2014); Lyon Biennale (2013); Liverpool Biennial (2012); Gwangju Biennale (2010); Performa 11, New York (2010). He represented Singapore at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 with the solo presentation Life of Imitation, which was awarded a special mention.

Exhibition
Ming Wong: "Fake Daughter's Secret Room of Shame"
30 November - 29 December 2019
12:00-19:00 *Open Fri. Sat. Sun.
ASAKUSA | 1-6-16 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo

Opening Events
"Pillow Talk" Performance
30 November 2019
Part I: 13:00-14:00, Part II: 18:00-19:00
ASAKUSA | 1-6-16 Nishi-Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo
info@asakusa-o.com

Project Team
Production: Koichiro Osaka, Mariko Mikami
Post-Production: Nathan Everett Engel
Assistance: Yuki Kobayashi (performance), Shiori Sato (shooting crew)

Supported by
Arts Council Tokyo Project Title: Ming Wong Japan-Invitation Production

Exhibition Catalogue (Year 2020 Calendar)
Concept/Artistic Direction: Ming Wong
Editor/Translation: Koichiro Osaka, Mariko Mikami
Design: Genki Abe (Tanuki)
English Copy Editing: Jaime Marie Davies
Published by ASAKUSA
Available at the venue at 2,300 yen (incl. VAT)

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