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Adele Chong
From November 4th 2005 to December 12th 2005
Close Quarters

The origins of my work revolve largely around personal histories and ideas of displacement. My family relocated frequently between two cultures over most of my life. As a child, I kept journals and recorded my travels. Such documentation existed in the form of writings, drawings, or comic book panels. The travels varied, yet the documentation sustained an equal enthusiasm for an assortment of explorations, from the “underbelly” of my suburban neighbourhood to secret messages spelled out on cobblestone walkways in Venice. Though I was enthralled by “impossible” structures, architectural feats apparently considered divine for their technical complexities, I favoured the less outspoken spaces. I felt drawn to forgotten corners, niches, and to anything that exemplified a makeshift quality or existence. Naturally, this attraction to subservient spaces also appealed to me because they represented escape routes from the rigid, though impermanent, urban structures that dictated my daily existence. The non-spaces were unclaimed territory and, as they accumulated, composed a world within my control. As my existence grew more nomadic, with the knowledge that situational permanence would always be an impossibility, rules were unconsciously set for more non-committal arrangements. An ingrained respect for such rules, and the psychological and cultural implications of life as defined by ritual very much contribute to informing my art practice.

"Close Quarters" came about when I started to produce a maquette of the multidisciplinary room at Optica. With the Optica model serving as its core, the work cultivates a childlike way of claiming one’s allotted space: building small vulnerable partitions that hold their weight through an assertion of ownership rather than through the durability of its materials.
- Adele Chong