Ming Wong — Eat Fear

Opening, March 20, 2014, 6.30 Uhr
Exhibition, March 21 – May 16, 2014

During his residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Ming, who was inspired by the strong Turkish presence in Berlin’s Kreuzberg area, developed his latest video work, “Eat Fear,” a reconstruction of a Fassbinder movie, “Angst essen Seele auf” (1973), which tells the story of Emmi, an elderly cleaning woman from Munich, who falls in love with a much younger Moroccan immigrant worker named Ali. The two unlikely lovers start living together as a couple, which at that time in Germany was socially looked down upon, if not deemed downright scandalous. In Fassbinder’s film, their relationship threatens to turn into a disaster under the pressure of hostile and discriminatory social reflexes. In “Eat Fear,” Ming plays all the roles, female and male. Speaking an approximate German, he embodies up to five persons at the same time, relentlessly switching between various identities, defined by gender, age or nationality. By playing all the protagonists in a wholly unfamiliar language, Ming redirects the arrows of antagonism back onto every single one of the characters, thus turning each figure into an “other” or a “stranger.” Beyond a reflection on identity and ­alterity—a topic which is at the heart of his artistic project—Ming’s works are enlivened by a deeply funny and entertaining dimension, which helps reveal the positive options unlocked by a playful state of “in-betweenness“—in-between ethnicities, languages and genders.

Ming Wong (* 1971 in Singapur) lives and works in Berlin.

Curated by Christian Kravagna and Hedwig Saxenhuber.