Paul Wong

(British Columbia, Canada)

Paul Wong


Joyce Yahouda Gallery
September 10 to October 17, 2015


Quartier des spectacles de Montréal
September 3 to September 20, 2015

The post-photographic readiness to make use of overwhelming quantities of images is reminiscent of what Umberto Eco refers to as a “catalogue aesthetic,” as opposed to a “finished form aesthetic.” Today, production and distribution are no longer successive phases in the visual communication process – rather, they are merged into one simultaneous action. This creative strategy dictates the conceptual framework of Paul Wong’s works. A massive compilation of images fuels projections and video installations, based on complex classification criteria and spatio-temporal structures, governed by the “catalogue aesthetic.”

Known as a prolific multimedia artist, Paul Wong has experimented with all facets of the image. His noteworthy recent projects include Solstice (2014), a video made using the pixel motion filter tool in After Effects – similar to the time-lapse technique – that condenses the 24 hours of the longest day of the year, on a Vancouver street, into 24 minutes. Evoking surveillance-camera documentary parameters, the work captures suspicious choreographies in “Crack Alley,” an infamous drug-trafficking and consumption site. In another installation, #LLL, Looking, Listening, Looping (2014), Wong covered a wall with 40 screens, each presenting a loop of animated GIFs, ranging from selfies to abstractions, that celebrate iconic diversity. In the view of Akimblog’s Amy Fung, these images “blur the shapes and patterns of capture and existence.” Another similar project, Year of GIF (2013), presents hundreds of photos taken with a smartphone over the course of a year, creating a mosaic of virtual flipbooks over which flows a kaleidoscopic miscellany of tremendously diverse photographs.


Paul Wong was born in Prince Rupert in 1954; he lives and works in Vancouver. He has shown and produced projects throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Since 1977, his works have been in solo and group exhibitions at the Winsor Gallery in Vancouver (2014), the Rencontres Internationales Paris-Madrid-Berlin (2012), the Richmond International Film and Media Arts Festival (2011), the Impakt Festival in the Netherlands (2009), Tate Britain (2007), and the Venice Biennale (2003). His works are in many public collections, including those of the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Canada Council Art Bank in Ottawa. He has received many awards, such as the Best Canadian Film or Video Award in 2008, the Governor General Visual and Media Arts Award in 2005, and the Expression Trailblazer Award in 2003. He is represented by the Winsor Gallery in Vancouver.

Solstice, 2014

Year of GIF, 2013

Interview with Paul Wong