Thesis work exhibited at SAIC MFA Show 2014

Fred A. Hillbruner Artists' Book Fellowship, Honorable Mention
Acquired by the Joan Flasch Artist's Book Collection

CoverInner spreadMiddle spread

Artist Statement
I/You deals with the everyday act of looking and perceiving, using hair as analogy—hair, which is a natural part of our body, but also loaded social signifier of class, racial, sexual and gender identity.

Borne out of a bizarre real-life incident, the book is an almost meditative contemplation of the phrase "I know what you are". The statement is projected onto cropped images of human hair conflated with those of objects, referencing the human urge to objectify and impose judgment.

Meaning is altered when the phrase is reconfigured in reverse (“You are what I know”). This reflection of the phrase is enhanced by the double-signature saddle stitch binding, which creates two halves with the middle spread acting as “mirror” for the content—each image of human hair is “mirrored” with that of an object. The identity of each image is finally revealed on the indexical gatefold spread at the end. These design decisions aim to utilize the book format, in a nuanced manner, to complicate the concept of knowing.

Further, by juxtaposing the statements and images with philosophical concepts of knowledge and certainty, the problematics of our incessant need to classify what we encounter are exposed—what we know is inherently limited by our background—and this background, which informs the way we read and name things, is seemingly stable but never unchangeable.

Ultimately, my intention is to push the reader to confront their own preconceptions and question what it means to know with certainty.

Installation viewMirror effectReveal spread

The book was presented as part of an installation at the SAIC MFA Show 2014.
Copyright 2022 Zhenqi Ong