Gayle Chong Kwan lives and works in London. She holds a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins College of Art, an MSc in Communications from Stirling University, and a BA in Politics and Modern History from Manchester University.
Her work creates a dialectic universe, highlighting fictional contemporary mechanisms and the flowering of latter-day myths. Her mise-en-scene landscapes, installations, and environments are created out of disturbing arrangements of waste, food and found materials. Her work highlights the ambiguous relationship between reality and appropriation and detoured implications, just as the Grand Tour tried to digest Classicism, mass tourism tries to digest the world in a more superficial and global way – pre-packaged, sweetened and adulterated. Chong Kwan’s work moves between raw and cooked and back again according to a metonymical mechanism. It is as if the materials release their ancestral qualities and transfer them back to the view rendering it unsettled, always ready to exude and to be corrupted, to return wild. The sense of remains in her work is about survival, something that may not be standardised. Chong Kwan works with photography, video, sound, installation, and performance and weaves together documentary and fantastical approaches to explore ideas of collective and individual memory, history and expanded notions of and frustration between the senses.
She has received the Award for Photography, Vauxhall Collective, UK (2008/9), Arts Council England Touring Award, Arts Council England, UK (2007-9), Pépinières Européennes pour Jeunes Artistes Award, Pépinières Award, EU (2005) and Arts Council England Individual Artist’s Award, Arts Council England, UK (2004-5) among others.
In 2009 she was an artist in residence at Scottish Arts Council/ Ricefield, Glasgow, Scotland, UK. She was also an artist in residence at COAST International Residency, A Foundation, Liverpool in 2007, Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris in 2008-9 and Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto in 2005.
Recent solo exhibitions include Terroir and the Pathetic Fallacy, ArtSway (2009); The Land of Peach Blossom, Graves Gallery, Sheffield (2008); Memoryscape Moravia (2009) and Cockaigne and Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Platform for Art (2006-8)
She has also participated in many group exhibitions such as Pot Luck, Art Circuit Touring Exhibition, New Art Gallery Walsall, Aberystwyth Art Centre, PM Gallery, Southampton City Art Gallery, UK (2008-9); Tales of the New World, Havana Biennial, (2009); 5x5Castelló09, Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló, Spain and Utopia, PhotoEspana, Museu Berardo, Centro Cultural do Belem, Lisbon, Utopia, Fundación Municipal de Cultura, Valladolid, Spain.