Lily Wong's "Own Vortex" is a Examination of Cultural Memory
This may sound personal, but I always thought that our Fall 2021 Quarterly was especially poignant, a year plus into the pandemic and artists had more and more time to reflect on what a collective pause would look like for the world and most importantly, themselves. Lily Wong was featured in that issue, and I remember her saying this. "I’ve been trying to give myself more grace. I had such a hang-up about that in school, feeling I had to factually prove my reality like, 'I know this lineage. I know this history. This is what I’m referencing.' That’s not necessarily my approach. I have what I’m interested in and create a whole fantasy around it. I get so deep into that fantasy that it becomes completely detached from the real thing." When we were looking at her new show, Own Vortex, that opened at Lyles & King last week, we thought about tnis quote and a sense of really getting to know someone, or the self, or your friends, during the extent for which we find ourselves in 2023.
The works here feel so personal, but yet strangely surreal. Wong uses this quote from Shigehisa Kuriyama in The Expressiveness of the Body as a reference: “The true structure and workings of the human body are, we casually assume, everywhere the same, a universal reality. But then we look into history, and our sense of reality wavers.” Perhaps that is why things feel so deeply emotive and yet still at a distance, and examination of what lies within a person's own histories as we come to know them, or they come to know themselves. Wong is presenting her strongest works to date, when we need it most. —Evan Pricco