Jimmy Ong


ABOUT THE ARTIST

One of Singapore’s preeminent contemporary artists, Jimmy Ong has been noted for his large-scale, figurative charcoal works on paper since his first solo exhibitions in the 1980s. His early, pioneering work focused on sexual identity and gender roles, often within the context of the traditional Chinese family. Ong has, over the past twenty-five years, explored the ways in which multiple identities and perspectives – whether sexual, ethnic, national, or even generational – can coexist within the individual. His deeply personal works have taken inspiration from a stark analysis of his own experience, and indeed of his own physical form, an ongoing process of what he calls “creative self therapy.” In recent years, he has investigated issues relating to marital roles, informed in part by his experience as a spouse in a gay marriage. His inquiry has gradually broadened from the personal to the plural and has incorporated gender archetypes as conveyed through mythology and spiritual traditions. His seminal exhibition, Sitayana, exhibited at Tyler Rollins Fine Art in 2010 and subsequently acquired by the National Art Gallery of Singapore, marked the first major public exhibition of this new focus, with its feminist re-imagining of the ancient Indian epic, the Ramayana, a work which continues to play a vibrant role throughout Southeast Asia, acting as an endless source of inspiration for the region’s folk and popular cultures. Ong used the Ramayana as a point of departure in creating new narratives that were informed by his sensitivity to the way gender roles play out in contemporary relationships. Recent exhibitions include: an important collection of 100 newly acquired works from the 1980s at the National University of Singapore Museum (2013-14); an exhibition at the Private Museum, Singapore (2011); and an acclaimed solo show of new works, entitled SGD, at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute following his residency there (2010).

In 2012, Ong’s investigation of the contemporary resonance of ancient myths led him to a series of projects in Yogyakarta, one of the major artistic centers in Java, Indonesia, where he began documentary research into gender roles as reflected in folklore as well as contemporary society, the latter specifically relating to the local transgender community. Sections from these projects were presented as part of the parallel programs of the Biennale Jogja XII in Yogyakarta (2013). His most recent exhibition at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, Elo Progo (2013), took its name and inspiration from the confluence of the Elo and Progo rivers – one said to be male, the other female – located in the Kedu Plain near Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple and one of Java’s most sacred ancient sites. Ong was captivated by this local myth as well as the traditional Javanese practice of meditation in water. The Elo Progo exhibition centered on Ong’s first public showing of video works, which were inspired by the rituals of water meditation and informed by themes of gender fluidity and mythic transformation. The exhibition also included a new body of works on paper, done in richly colored gouache, that appropriated a type of Chinese splash ink brushwork in mirrored patterns created by the repetitive folding of the paper along an axis. Through a circular and meditative process of drawing, transferring, and redrawing, which echoed the cyclical, ritualistic time of the videos, Ong created a vivid series of works that featured a recurring, androgynous figure. In various degrees of abstraction, the figure was shown twice in each work, in a mirroring of form reflecting Ong’s ongoing interest in ideas relating to duality, gender binarism, and the fluidity and transformation of identity.

Elo Progo (2013)

ENLARGE

Sangam, 2012

two-channel video

8:27 min

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Kungkum, 2012

single-channel video

4:30 min

ENLARGE

Gerry Gender 9, 2012

gouache on paper

26 x 50 in. (66 x 127 cm)

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Gerry Gender 1, 2012

gouache and chacoal on paper

27 x 49 in. (68 x 124.5 cm)

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Gerry Gender 2, 2012

gouache and charcoal on paper

36 x 50 in. (91 x 27 cm)

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Gerry Gender 3, 2012

gouache and charcoal on paper

45 x 25 ½ in. (114 x 65 cm)

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Gerry Gender 4, 2012

gouache on paper

22 ½ x 29 ½ in. (57 x 75 cm)

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Gerry Gender 5, 2012

gouache on paper

50 x 24 in. (127 x 61 cm)

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Gerry Gender 6, 2012

gouache on paper

50 x 27 in. (127 x 68 cm)

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Gerry Gender 7, 2012

gouache on paper

25 x 50 in. (63.5 x 127 cm)

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Gerry Gender 8, 2012

gouache on paper

50 x 26 in. (127 x 66 cm)

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Gerry Gender 10, 2012

gouache on paper

50 ½ x 24 ½ in. (128 x 62 cm)

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Gerry Gender 11, 2012

gouache on paper

50 ½ x 25 ½ in. (128 x 65 cm)

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Gerry Gender 12, 2012

gouache on paper

50 ½ x 26 in. (128 x 68 cm)

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E & P, 2012

gouache on paper

22 ½ x 29 ½ in. (57 x 75 cm)

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "Elo Progo" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, January 10 - February 23, 2016

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "Elo Progo" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, January 10 - February 23, 2016

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "Elo Progo" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, January 10 - February 23, 2016

Sitayana (2010)

ENLARGE

Dual Sita Dua, 2009

charcoal on paper

98 ½ x 102 in. (250 x 259 cm)

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Sita X Sati, 2009

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 92 in. (128.25 x 233.5 cm)

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Rama Wash Day, 2009

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 96 in. (128.25 x 243.75 cm)

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Sita Flays the Deer, 2009

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 96 in. (128.25 x 243.75 cm)

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Ravanna Waits, 2009

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 96 in. (128.25 x 243.75 cm)

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Sita & Sons, 2009

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 65 in. (128.25 x 165 cm)

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Khumbini & Sita, 2009

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 45 ½ in. (128.25 x 115.5 cm)

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Sita & Laksmana at Ganga, 2009

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 96 in. (128.25 x 243.75 cm)

ENLARGE

Oh Rama What a Beautiful Deer, 2009

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 96 in. (128.25 x 243.75 cm)

ENLARGE

Supanaka Wonderbra, 2009

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 96 in. (128.25 x 243.75 cm)

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The Dhobi Learns the Fundoshi, 2009

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 96 in. (128.25 x 243.75 cm)

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "Sitayana" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, January 14 - February 27, 2010

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "Sitayana" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, January 14 - February 27, 2010

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "Sitayana" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, January 14 - February 27, 2010

ENLARGE +

Installation View of "Sitayana" at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, January 14 - February 27, 2010

S G D (2010)

ENLARGE

O SGP: (Left to Right) Batam, Bintan, Kusu, Brani, Sebarok, Prima, WTC, 2010

pigmented paper pulp on handmade paper

7 panels, each approx. 68 x 53 in. (173 x 135 cm)

ENLARGE

GNP 3, 2010

lithography and acrylic on STPI pigment stained handmade paper

50 ½ x 40 ¼ in. (128 x 102 cm)

ENLARGE

GNP 7, 2010

lithography and acrylic on STPI pigment stained handmade paper

50 ½ x 40 ¼ in. (128 x 102 cm)

ENLARGE

Cranes, 2010

screen print, pastel, oil sticks and acrylic on STPI handmade paper and pigmented paper pulp

54 x 69 ½ in. (137 x 177 cm)

ENLARGE

Rain Afer, 2010

pigmented paper pulp on STPI handmade paper

54 x 68 in. (137 x 173 cm)

Papa, Can You Hear Me (2010)

Papa, Can You Hear Me #3, 2010

watercolor on paper

40 x 28 in. (102 x 71 cm)

Papa, Can You Hear Me #5, 2010

watercolor on paper

40 x 28 in. (102 x 71 cm)

Papa, Can You Hear Me #7, 2010

watercolor on paper

40 x 28 in. (102 x 71 cm)

Other Available Works

His Master's Voices, 2008

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 45 in. (128.25 x 63.5 cm)

O Rama What a Beautiful Deer (Hot Version), 2009

charcoal on paper

96 x 50 ½ in. (243.75 x 128.25 cm)

Sita and Laksmana at Ganga (Indian Version), 2009

charcoal on paper

96 x 50 ½ in. (243.75 x 128.25 cm)

Supanaka in the Forest, 2009

charcoal on paper

96 x 50 ½ in. (243.75 x 128.25 cm)

Alaya Arborvitae, 2007

charcoal on paper

50 ½ x 45 in. (128.25 x 114.25 cm)

I M 01 (I Am Nought One), 2008

charcoal on paper

11 ½ x 15 ½ in. (29 x 39.5 cm)

I M 02 (I Am Nought Two), 2008

charcoal on paper

15 ½ x 11 ½ in. (39.5 x 29 cm)

Archive (2000-2009)

Eleventh Wrestling Woman, 2000

charcoal on paper

Heart Daughters, 2005

charcoal on paper

Kongtung & Nuli, 2006

charcoal on paper

M & Child, 2003

charcoal on paper

Parting at Fort Road, 2003

charcoal on paper

Seventeenth Wrestling Woman, 2001

charcoal on paper

Tenth Wrestling Woman, 2000

charcoal on paper

The Apron, 2000

charcoal on paper

Yu Sisters Cross the Mountains, 2005

charcoal on paper

Archive (1990-1999)

3 Legs and 4 Legs, 1999

charcoal on paper

Bicycle Wife, 1991

charcoal on paper

Chinese Son, 1997

charcoal on paper

Dual Self Portrait, 1995

charcoal on paper

Iron Goddess, 1999

charcoal on paper

Mother Melatonin, 1997

charcoal on paper

Ms November, 1997

charcoal on paper

My Master My Son, 1999

charcoal on paper

Prodigal Son 1, 1993

charcoal on paper

Prodigal Son 3, 1993

charcoal on paper

Siew Luan Sewing, 1998

charcoal on paper

So & So, 1998

charcoal on paper

Undo Deity, 1999

charcoal on paper

Self Portrait Pregnant, 1991

charcoal on paper

Archive (1980-1989)

Self Portrait as Son & Father, 1989

charcoal on paper

Alan Sitting, 1986

charcoal on paper

The Lottery Man, 1986

charcoal on paper

The Lottery Man, detail, 1986

charcoal on paper

The Lottery Man, detail, 1986

charcoal on paper

Winni Woman in Blue Jeans, 1986

watercolor and charcoal on paper


WORKS

Elo Progo (2013)

Sitayana (2010)

S G D (2010)

Papa, Can You Hear Me (2010)

Other Available Works

Archive (2000-2009)

Archive (1990-1999)

Archive (1980-1989)

National University of Singapore Museum, Recent Gifts: Works and Documents of Lim Mu Hue and Jimmy Ong

2014


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Men’s Folio Singapore, A Room of One’s Own

February, 2014


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Blouin Art Info, Jimmy Ong Tackles Video for Second Solo Show in NY

January, 2013


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C-Arts, The Private Museum

July, 2011


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Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Jimmy Ong

2010


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Asian Art Newspaper, Politics and History in Recent Southeast Asian Contemporary Art

November, 2010


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Newsweek, Singapore: Portraits of the Prime Minister

October, 2010


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Time Out Singapore, Jimmy Ong

September, 2010


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Art Info, Singapore Comes to Chelsea

January, 2010


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National University of Singapore Museum: Highlights of the Collection, Jimmy Ong, Venus Rising with the Moon

2009


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VCM, Venus Rising with the Moon

2009


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The Invisible Thread: Buddhist Spirit in Contemporary Art

2004


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12 ASEAN Artists, Jimmy Ong: Talking Charcoal

July, 2000


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Asian Art Newspaper, Bodhisattva Pudica: The Nudes of Jimmy Ong

January, 2000


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Art Scene, Jimmy Ong

1999


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Asian Art News, An Intimate World

September, 1997


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The Business Times (Singapore), An artist who lets his pieces do the talking

July, 1997


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Channels & Confluences: A History of Singapore Art

1996


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The Straits Times, The play of life

August, 1990


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