Look East Gone West – Ho Rui An



26 September 2020 - 24 October 2020
A+ Works of Art


* Visit to the gallery is by private appointment only. Please contact +6018 333 3399 or email to info@aplusart.asia


A+ WORKS of ART is proud to present Look East Gone West, a solo exhibition by artist Ho Rui An. Ho’s first solo exhibition in Southeast Asia brings together works from a recent body of research that investigates the so-called East Asian miracle of the late twentieth century against contemporary shifts in global capitalism.

The exhibition’s title is inspired by a remark made by Margaret Thatcher during her historic visit to Malaysia in 1985. This visit by the figurehead of neoliberalism known for deregulating the UK’s financial markets was a moment of reconciliation between the countries following Mahathir’s Buy British Last and Look East policies earlier in the decade. During their meeting, Thatcher infamously quipped to Mahathir: “although, Prime Minister, you may sometimes look East and sometimes may travel East, if you look far enough East and travel far enough East, you always come to the West!” Co-opting this turn of phrase, the works in Look East Gone West displace and complicate the racialised imaginaries that, by inflecting the well-worn division between the East and the West through a narrative of progress, puts one on the side of the past and the other on that of the future.

First co-commissioned by the 12th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea, and the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Japan, Asia the Unmiraculous (2018– ) is a lecture and video installation that considers the 1997 Asian financial crisis against the “miracle” that preceded it. Focusing on the relationship between race and financial capitalism, the project unpacks the contestation between neoliberalism and developmentalism during the time that was obscured by the “Asianisation” of the miracle and crisis.

The exhibition also features Student Bodies (2019), a film that examines the fraught history of capitalist modernity and radial culture in East and Southeast Asia through the figure of the student body. Employing tropes of the horror genre, the film tracks the monstrous transformations of the student body in the region, from the students of Satsuma and Choshu from Bakumatsu-era Japan, who were the first students from the country to study in the West, to the dead student protester on the streets, to the scholar-technocrat as an embodiment of the neoliberal state. Student Bodies was commissioned by the Asian Film Archive, Singapore. In 2019, the film was awarded the International Film Critics’ Prize (FIPRESCI Prize) at the International Competition, 65th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany.

While being critical re-examinations of history, Ho’s works are also an interrogation of a politically charged present. At stake in both Asia the Unmiraculous and Student Bodies is the question of the horizon, or that which structures our experience of looking and moving between here and elsewhere, between East and West. By questioning what it means to “look East” and “go West”, Look East Gone West asks that we rethink the polarising discourses that pervade the mainstream media today in the face of the professed “return” of the Asian Century—framed specifically through China’s rise—and the decline of the West.

The exhibition is curated by Kathleen Ditzig and supported by the National Arts Council, Singapore, Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, and Epson.

HO RUI AN is an artist and writer working in the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance and theory. Working primarily across the mediums of lecture, essay and film, he probes into the shifting relations between image and power, focusing on the ways by which images are produced, circulate and disappear within contexts of globalism and governance. He has presented projects at the Asian Art Biennial, Taichung (2019), Gwangju Biennale (2018), Jakarta Biennale (2017), Sharjah Biennial (2017), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014), Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2019), Long March Space, Beijing (2018), Haus de Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2017), NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (2017) and Para Site, Hong Kong (2015). In 2018, he was a fellow of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm. He lives and works in Singapore.

KATHLEEN DITZIG is a Singaporean researcher and curator. Ditzig's art historical research on Southeast Asia has been published in Southeast of Now (NUS Press, 2017), as well as presented at international academic conferences and platforms. Her writing has been published in three different languages and on platforms by Artforum, Art Agenda and Flash Art. Her most recent exhibitions include As The West Slept, a Performa 2019 consortium project and A Fear of Monsters commissioned by Asian Film Archive as part of its annual State of Motion series for Singapore Art Week 2019.

Look East Gone West – Ho Rui An

Look East Gone West – Ho Rui An

26 September 2020 - 24 October 2020
A+ Works of Art


* Visit to the gallery is by private appointment only. Please contact +6018 333 3399 or email to info@aplusart.asia


A+ WORKS of ART is proud to present Look East Gone West, a solo exhibition by artist Ho Rui An. Ho’s first solo exhibition in Southeast Asia brings together works from a recent body of research that investigates the so-called East Asian miracle of the late twentieth century against contemporary shifts in global capitalism.

The exhibition’s title is inspired by a remark made by Margaret Thatcher during her historic visit to Malaysia in 1985. This visit by the figurehead of neoliberalism known for deregulating the UK’s financial markets was a moment of reconciliation between the countries following Mahathir’s Buy British Last and Look East policies earlier in the decade. During their meeting, Thatcher infamously quipped to Mahathir: “although, Prime Minister, you may sometimes look East and sometimes may travel East, if you look far enough East and travel far enough East, you always come to the West!” Co-opting this turn of phrase, the works in Look East Gone West displace and complicate the racialised imaginaries that, by inflecting the well-worn division between the East and the West through a narrative of progress, puts one on the side of the past and the other on that of the future.

First co-commissioned by the 12th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea, and the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, Japan, Asia the Unmiraculous (2018– ) is a lecture and video installation that considers the 1997 Asian financial crisis against the “miracle” that preceded it. Focusing on the relationship between race and financial capitalism, the project unpacks the contestation between neoliberalism and developmentalism during the time that was obscured by the “Asianisation” of the miracle and crisis.

The exhibition also features Student Bodies (2019), a film that examines the fraught history of capitalist modernity and radial culture in East and Southeast Asia through the figure of the student body. Employing tropes of the horror genre, the film tracks the monstrous transformations of the student body in the region, from the students of Satsuma and Choshu from Bakumatsu-era Japan, who were the first students from the country to study in the West, to the dead student protester on the streets, to the scholar-technocrat as an embodiment of the neoliberal state. Student Bodies was commissioned by the Asian Film Archive, Singapore. In 2019, the film was awarded the International Film Critics’ Prize (FIPRESCI Prize) at the International Competition, 65th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany.

While being critical re-examinations of history, Ho’s works are also an interrogation of a politically charged present. At stake in both Asia the Unmiraculous and Student Bodies is the question of the horizon, or that which structures our experience of looking and moving between here and elsewhere, between East and West. By questioning what it means to “look East” and “go West”, Look East Gone West asks that we rethink the polarising discourses that pervade the mainstream media today in the face of the professed “return” of the Asian Century—framed specifically through China’s rise—and the decline of the West.

The exhibition is curated by Kathleen Ditzig and supported by the National Arts Council, Singapore, Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, and Epson.

HO RUI AN is an artist and writer working in the intersections of contemporary art, cinema, performance and theory. Working primarily across the mediums of lecture, essay and film, he probes into the shifting relations between image and power, focusing on the ways by which images are produced, circulate and disappear within contexts of globalism and governance. He has presented projects at the Asian Art Biennial, Taichung (2019), Gwangju Biennale (2018), Jakarta Biennale (2017), Sharjah Biennial (2017), Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014), Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (2019), Long March Space, Beijing (2018), Haus de Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2017), NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (2017) and Para Site, Hong Kong (2015). In 2018, he was a fellow of the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm. He lives and works in Singapore.

KATHLEEN DITZIG is a Singaporean researcher and curator. Ditzig's art historical research on Southeast Asia has been published in Southeast of Now (NUS Press, 2017), as well as presented at international academic conferences and platforms. Her writing has been published in three different languages and on platforms by Artforum, Art Agenda and Flash Art. Her most recent exhibitions include As The West Slept, a Performa 2019 consortium project and A Fear of Monsters commissioned by Asian Film Archive as part of its annual State of Motion series for Singapore Art Week 2019.

Look East Gone West – Ho Rui An