I'm On Your Side

Heman Chong, Cesare Pietroiusti, CCH, Zirkumflex

The inaugural event of Kunstverein (Milano)'s activities. The title of the entire event is taken from a special project realised by Singapore artist Heman Chong, who after his recent participation in Manifesta8 shows for the first time in Italy presenting a three-part intervention.


@Galvanotecnica Bugatti , Milano

During the event Kunstverein will be presented to the public with a threefold project by Heman Chong (Singapore/NY).
A performance by Cesare Pietroiusti (Rome), starting from the 'relational' in combination with a reflection on the object in itself, its value and its availability, develops a project/performance to support the activities of Kunstverein (Milano).

Membership cards 2010-11, especially designed by design studio cum project space Zirkumflex, Berlin, will be presented and available during the event and online.

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The title of the entire event is taken from a new project realised for Kunstverein (Milano) by Singapore artist Heman Chong. After his recent participation in Manifesta8, the artist, based in NewYork, will now be present in Milan for his first solo-project in Italy.

"I'm on your side" is a written notice and pronunciation realised in public space that may be interpreted in relation to a sociopolitical context, to social relations, yet might also be read as a signalisation of the failure of a certain type of social contract.
"I'm on your side" is an assertion intended to create consensus, however at the same moment it is expressed, it triggers a sense of distrust towards the person claiming it. The statement, as it is presented by the artist, functions as a device for (self-) reflection on the continuous search for consensus in contemporary society. Applied specifically to the cultural sector, it reflects on the politics of consensus followed also by major museums and institutions of contemporary art, large-scale international events and art spaces, on their quest to involve an ever-larger audience. In this way Kunstverein (Milano) intends to trigger a discord, proposing divers forms of practicing art and continuously reflecting on what it means to create new spaces dedicated to artistic practice in the city of Milan.
A suggestion to this reflection is found in Chong's second intervention, A Short Story about Geometry, which takes an immediate distance from spectacular events or unambiguous mass communication emphasizing instead a more intimate and concentrated exchange. Chong proposes a private memory class, available to those who register via www.kunstverein.it. A short Story About Geometry involves a task in which a participant, with the help of a teacher, is required to become the vessel of a 499-word short story via the hard-core task of memorizing the story, word for word. It is agreed that the short story shall never be published or adapted into any visual or perceptible form.The way to access the story is uniquely via this given task: it's given for free, but at the cost of perseverance and attention. As such this oral transmission transforms into a real and proper locus of encounter, which in turn becomes the product and producer of a social space. Kunstverein (Milano) indeed takes this space, physical and mental, as a starting point.

The Forer Effect is the third intervention by Chong evoking the effect of subjective validation. Part of a generation for whom the internet became a cultural entity, Chong navigated the free content of Wikepedia's encyclopedia project starting from 'Kamikaze', via 'suicide', 'judy garland', 'wizzard of Oz', 'fortune telling' to arrive at 'The Forer Effect'. It describes the observation that each individual when confronted with a personality profile they believe refers to them, tends to identify with it, rating it highly accurate, even when in fact the profile remains vague and general enough to apply to many. Chong presents the Forer profile description in a sculptural form.

Read more about Short Story About Geometry

With the support of:
National Arts Council Singapore [NAC]
Vitamin Creative Space [Guangzhou/Beijing]

Media partner:
Radio Papesse

Special thanks to Tania Gianesin and the foundation lettera27 for their generous support and precious advise, as well as to Brunella Barattini and Roberta Mascheroni for their collaboration and enthusiasm towards Kunstverein (Milano)

Kunstverein thanks:
Tenuta di Paganico

Images by: Andrea Rossetti