Dawn Ng
Perfect Stranger (Sydney)
24 Nov – 22 Dec 18
Selected Works
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Exhibition Text

Perfect Stranger is a body of work on paper ebbing with words and gradient hues, forming a surreal stratosphere of text and color. Each work emits a phosphorescence, arising from a synthesis of shades unique to, and reflective of its script.

This verbose, color-drenched body of work is a distilled collection of texts, drawn from a daily Q&A project between Ng and a stranger, an Israeli child psychologist she barely knew, for over a year. It is a fossilized, fleeting exchange between two women from completely different pasts, presents, and futures.

Every day, she would ask Ng a question, and Ng would respond. Over time, this dance of inquisition and disclosure began to unveil an intimate tapestry of interwoven fact and fiction, spanning across a barrage of observations, questions, lists, stories, poems, confessions, and jokes.

Perfect Stranger is an experiment in freezing time, or more accurately, moments of oneself over time. It often strikes Ng that when someone says he misses something, he ordinarily alludes to a person, time, or place; when what he truly misses is a version of himself, which he can never get back to again. This work is thus a re-imagination of a self-portrait, and a narrative time capsule of oneself right here, right now. After all, what is each of us, but a vessel of vanishing selves? And the things we thought and felt in a passing moment, the only remnants of the day?

At once, a static yet glimmering vista of shades, the installation is visually emblematic of the irony and balance in binaries and dualities — between the monumental and mundane, stillness and change, materiality and ephemerality, was and is, hello and goodbye. It is core to Ng's ongoing study of color, emotion, memory, and time.

Sullivan+Strumpf acknowledge the Indigenous People of this land, the traditional custodians on whose Country we work, live and learn. We pay respect to Elders, past and present, and recognise their continued connection to culture, land, waters and community.

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