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Emerging from the Hong Kong underground art scene, artist Wong Ping creates animations and installations that are stylish, ridiculous, taboo, and, surprisingly, highly contemplative.
Wong’s single-channel video Wong Ping’s Fables 2 (2019) narrates two contemporary fables that are morbidly absurd yet witty. Cow the Super Rich’s protagonist is former political dissident, Cow, who, after serving jail time for assaulting a police officer, made a fortune selling tattered jeans. Before meeting his unexpected end, Cow, who desired to feel fulfilled by improving the world, bought all the lottery bets to share the prizes with random citizens—an act that went unappreciated, as the public antagonized rich capitalists like him. Judge Rabbit features conjoined rabbit triplets No.1, No.2, and No.3, who, in pursuit of their dreams, schemed against each other. This story ends with the failed prison escape and consequent death of No.2.
The supposed “moral lessons” that follow the fables—“happiness is only real when shared” and “striving for your own happiness by any means is better than suffering together with your family”—seem incongruous, both forced and forceful, and hinting at the didactic nature of the fables. They highlight the conflicting moral codes that underlie a society of battling ideologies between the socialist ideal and the capitalist reality. Embodying a more wicked form of cultural immortality, the fables, which employ an ancient form of storytelling, adapt to the contemporary world to maintain their function as a subtle means of suppression and control, thus echoing a motif that appears in both fables: the Jail.