Call for the Dead #42

STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery

Call for the Dead #42

Artist Profile

While on residency at STPI in 2020, Heman Chong read. He read and then he redacted page after page of John le Carré’s book Call For The Dead. The artist erased everything except for the verbs, leaving behind decontextualised traces of something that happened.

Published in 1961, Call For The Dead was le Carré’s first novel. Le Carré is a British author known for his espionage novels. Critical of Cold War espionage, his stories painted spies as morally compromised bureaucrats. Like his work, John le Carré is a fiction, a pen name. The author, David Cornwell, was a spy. Cornwell worked for Britain's domestic intelligence service, MI5, and its foreign intelligence service, MI6.

Visualising redactions monumentalise the act of censorship. It represents the underlying power relations between redactor, imbued often with state power, and the reader. The more extensive the redaction, the larger the secret and the more authoritative the reactor.

Consisting of 83 silkscreen prints that cover the walls of a gallery within STPI, Chong’s repeated bureaucratic performance of running a thick line of ink to blot out text imply that le Carré’s novel holds enough secrets to fill a room.

For other works by Heman Chong please visit:



Heman Chong


Screenprint and acrylic on linen


46 x 61 cm