Issue 1
Issue 1

Stacks

Started in 2003, Stacks is an ongoing sculptural project in which Heman Chong depicts banal everyday items — a glass or mug, a bottle of perfume — atop a stack of books.

Heman Chong

Produced once per year, each work’s title derives from the book titles contained therein; for example: Black Holes & Time Warps, The Possibility of an Island, The Practice of Everyday Life, Voyage to the End of the Room (all, 2006). As sculptures, each stack of books is intended for display directly on the floor instead of upon plinths or shelves. This serves to remind viewers of the works’ modest beginnings and to detract from assumptions that these mundane items are being elevated to the status of art object. It also keeps them resolutely human-scaled — a relevance that is important, given that the books and glassware comprising each stack are direct representa-tions of items the artist has consumed in the previous year. In this sense, they are both a punctuation mark — announcing the end of one phase in life and the beginning of another — and allegorical totems to Chong’s recent past. Stacks also reflects the artist’s predilection for using art to point, recommend or redirect toward something else outside the immediate frame. These works may be seen as periodic self-portraits or conceptual mixtapes — but they also draw important parallels between every-day forms of consumption and the consumption of knowledge. In another light, they demonstrate Chong’s commitment to conceptualism by reassembling, rearrang-ing and bringing attention to what is already present.

Heman Chong
Thinking about Exhibitions, Understanding Media, Living in Singapore, An Artist of the Floating World 4 books and 5 glasses, 2003
Heman Chong
Foucault's Pendulum, The Elementary Particles, Pattern Recognition, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love 4 books and 5 glasses, 2004 (2010)
Heman Chong
Everyday Life in the Modern World, What Is the Artist’s Role Today? Protest, Intimacy 4 Books and 4 perfume bottles, 2005
Heman Chong
Black Holes & Time Warps, The Possibility of an Island, The Practice of Everyday Life, Voyage to the End of the Room . 4 books and 5 glasses, 2006
Heman Chong
Against the Day, Stopping the Process, All Tomorrow's Parties, The Man in the High Castle 4 books, 7 glasses, 2007
Heman Chong
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, A Fall of Moondust, Correction, Blindness 4 books and 4 glasses, 2008
Heman Chong
Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom, The Book of Revelation, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting 4 books and 5 glasses, 2009
Heman Chong
The Stone Gods, A Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man, Man in the Dark, Death with Interruptions 4 books and 5 glasses, 2010
Heman Chong
Too Brief a Treat, Cruising Paradise, Robinson Crusoe, Lord Jim 4 books and 3 glasses, 2011
Heman Chong
The Map and The Territory, Roadside Picnic, The Maine Woods, The Last Thing He Wanted 4 books and 2 glasses, 2012
Heman Chong
The Savage Detectives, The New Life, Small Memories, Corridor 4 books and 8 glasses, 2013
Heman Chong
Ministry of Moral Panic, Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not), The Waves, The Left Hand of Darkness 4 books and 8 glasses, 2014
Heman Chong
Elizabeth Costello, A Personal Anthology, Ali the Unseen, Deliverance 4 books and 8 glasses, 2015
Text by Amanda Lee Koe, Writer, Fiction Editor of Esquire Singapore; text originally published in Heman Chong’s monograph: Heman Chong: The Part In The Story Where We Lost Count Of The Days.
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