Will Kwan: Rhetorical questions (Two Hundred Euphemisms)
Process Room, 09.02.10- 28.02.10
Rhetorical questions (Two Hundred Euphemisms) is an installation comprised of two hundred words found in the English language that are used to describe various forms of human and social organization. The collection of words attempts to cover the full spectrum of groupings, from rudimentary, small-scale units such as family, cell, detail, to abstract, macro classifications such as market, nation, civilization, and world.† The words are drawn from diverse fields but are most commonly found in military, religious, governmental, and judicial settings. The etymological roots of the words often reveal their historical role in visualizing and organizing social and civic structures and tell us something about how order and hierarchy are legitimized and sustained through lexicon and speech. Many of the words are also familiar to us through their consistent use as rhetoric in political declarations or symbolic sites to insinuate ideas of inclusion and exclusion. The words are installed as a continuous architectural frieze to emphasize their privileged rhetorical role in established institutions, but presented in a muted, low-visibility colour allowing them to recede into the particular setting.
The installation in the colonnades at IMMA will be an abbreviated version of the two hundred words focusing on terminology common in Irish political speeches and proclamations, Dublinís historical monuments, and Irelandís national press and media. The work currently on show in the Process Room is a prologue to the project which will follow in the colonnades within the forthcoming week.
Will Kwan was born in 1978 in Hong Kong. He received his MFA from Columbia University in 2004 and from 2005-2006 was a research fellow at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, The Netherlands. His work has been presented at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, the 2003 Venice Biennale, the 2007 Montreal Biennale, the Duolun Museum of Modern Art and Zendai Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai, Art in General in New York, The Power Plant in Toronto, The Western Front in Vancouver, the CAC Vilnius, and the Polish National Museum in Poznan. His first solo exhibition entitled Multilateral opened at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery in 2009. Forthcoming in 2010 is a new commission for the International exhibition at the 6th Liverpool Biennial. Will is currently a lecturer in the Department of Studio Art at the University of Toronto Scarborough and a graduate faculty member in the Masters of Visual Studies Program at the University of Toronto.