STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery
Everything in the world began with a yes. One molecule said yes to another molecule and life was born. But before prehistory there was the prehistory of prehistory and there was the never and there was the yes. It was ever so. I do not know why, but I do know that the universe never began.
The Hour of the Star (2013 - ) is a series of paintings based on Chong’s reading of the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector’s novel.
Published in 1977, The Hour of the Star was Lispector’s last novel before she died. The book, which has been read as a meditation on writing, begins with a narrator that discusses what it means to write a story before he begins his tale of the difficult life of an impoverished young woman in Rio de Janeiro. The ending of the book, in which the heroine is run over by a yellow Mercedes, is inspired by a fortune teller’s predictions of Lispector’s own future.
The series unfolds over years, with Chong making one painting every year, in tandem with his slow and deep reading of the novel. Chong’s wallowing in each word of the novel surfaces in the titles of the paintings, which are abstracts from the novel.
Chong first developed these paintings on the impulse to expand his painting practice. Forcing himself to content with a larger scale and refined material such as linen, The Hour of the Star is not just a serious contention of the last words of a writer but also a consideration of the very materiality of value itself.
For other works by Heman Chong please visit: https://pubhtml5.com/umoh/qosp
Acrylic on unprimed linen
200 x 130 cm