Portrait of Jason Wee, February 2019. Photograph: Jimmy Tan
Dreaming With: Jason Wee
Our Dreaming With Q&A series provides an exclusive glimpse into the artists’ lives and studios.
Where have you spent your time during the pandemic?
I was still traveling to Bangkok, between New York and Singapore, when the pandemic broke out in late 2019. I’ve spent most of 2020 sheltering in Singapore, traveling only to New York and only to work on the final details of my Triennial commission. I’m back here again in Singapore, but I miss my home in Harlem. I hope to spend Christmas this year back home.
What books, music, movies, or podcasts have inspired you recently?
I am reading a few things at once, Matt Waggoner’s Unhoused: Adorno and the Problem of Dwelling (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2018), W. G. Sebald’s The Emigrants (New Directions, 2016), Greg Mills’s The Asian Aspiration (Hurst, 2020) and its fantasy of an African Lee Kuan Yew, and I am re-reading Sara Ahmed’s Queer Phenomenology (Duke University Press, 2006). I just saw Promising Young Women (2020) written and directed by Emerald Fennell, and its tonal shifts are both dazzling and discomforting. I’m quite blown away by the writing and the performances.
What are you working on right now?
It’ll be a full year. Among other things, I am working on developing a new iteration of my recent Singapore Biennale commission for the Rockbund Art Museum's summer 2021 exhibition Curtain, followed by a solo exhibition with Yavuz Gallery and a commission for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in fall.
Cruising, July 2019. Photograph: Jason Wee
What artist or work of art has most recently had an impact on you?
I’ve been thinking a great deal about Arthur Jafa’s exhibition presentations, how he works with others within an ostensibly solo exhibition, the way he brings in the more collaborative nature we see more in filmmaking and cinema.
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
Seeing my friends in Taipei and Berlin again.
What do you want viewers to take away from experiencing your work in the Triennial?
I want them to think about abstraction as a social form and as representative of movement, secrecy, and desire.
Are there any fun facts about your practice or your work in the Triennial that you would like to share with readers?
I haven’t cruised much before beginning this project, and I don’t think I’ll do as much again! And yet, even in those cruising moments, I feel still like an outsider.