Filmmaker, photographer and visual artist based in Singapore, Sherman Ong develops a wide corpus on various themes linked together by his fragile and moving aesthetics, a feature of his work. Human figures evolving in disrupted public places and overwhelmed by the changing nature of space – affected by the monsoon, the wildness or the bundling up of urban sites, seem to be looking for a localised identity accentuating the desire to forge relationships and harnessing a sense of belonging.
In the process, the subjects are often immortalised in action, making them the unique conveyor of meaning, establishing them to be the only common ground in such a varied and fluid environment. Is space escaping or are humans running away from it? Ong explores this recurrent question structured by the paradoxical human quest to seek a sense of belonging through one’s physical environment while embodying the innate suspicion to infrastructures.
Ong was born in Malaysia, in 1971. Winner of the prestigious 2010 ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu Photography Award, Ong has premiered works in art biennales, major film festivals and museums all around the world. In 2009, he was invited to participate in the Singapore Pavilion, Venice Biennale, which garnered a Special Mention. More recently, he was nominated for the APB-Singapore Art Museum Signature Art Prize 2011 and collaborated on the Little Sun project headed by Olafur Eliasson, which premiered at the Tate Modern London in 2012. His works have been exhibited at Mori Art Museum Tokyo, Japan; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan; Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin, Germany; Musee du Quai Branly Paris, France; Centre Pompidou Paris, France; Institute of Contemporary Arts London, UK; Noorderlicht Photo Festival, The Netherlands; Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Netherlands; Video Brasil International Electronic Art Festival, Brazil; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Brazil; South Australia Contemporary Art Centre, Parkside, Australia and Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre, Lithuania.
In addition to his many accolades, both of local and international acclaim, he is a founding member of 13 Little Pictures, a film collective based in Singapore. He also serves on the committee of the Singapore International Photography Festival, as an educator at schools and universities, and was an Associate Artist of the Substation. His work is part of many private and public collections including the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore and the Seoul Art Centre, Korea. The artist currently lives and works in Singapore.