By Franziska Winkler
An Inch of Time for an Inch of Gold is written in neon letters across Morgan Wong’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong. The title refers to a Chinese proverb about the value of time.
On the booth’s floor lies a snake-like gold chain, apparently one piece. But a closer look shows it is made up of separate, overlapping chains. Each contains a watch whose face has been filled with concrete.
This is the second time Wong, 34, has exhibited at Art Basel Hong Kong. The local artist has been producing for more than 10 years. The hardest thing about working in Hong Kong, he said, is finding the space, since rents are high and the city so dense.
Wong has been thinking about the concept of time since he studied to earn a MFA at University College London’s Slade School of Fine Arts.
“I see the passage of time as a predicament, something we can never control – even if we try to”, he said.
In 2013 Wong showed I Got Time, a 20-day performance in which he held 20 different cups of concrete for 24 hours each. In that performance, as well as in An Inch of Time for an Inch of Gold, he tries the impossible: stopping time.
“The phrase ‘I got time’ is never true, for we are always bound to the system of time,” he said.
Wong is exploring another angle on time: according to theoretical physics, he said, the passage of time might not even exist. “It gives me a kind of exit, so I don’t have to be bound to the system of time anymore. ”
This story is published as part of CJC Fellowship 2018 with the support from Swire Properties’ ArtisTree at Taikoo Place and MG Interactive.