“Myth of the Flat Earth” is a conceptual photographic series by artist photographer John Clang, portraits of figures floating in a pool invisible metaphor of trying to survive the expectations of society, Clang explores the state of being awake and dreaming at the same time, the tension between illusion and reality, and a dialogue resulting in different views and perspectives.
A sense of paranoia pervades every shot, the figures tread on invisible water constantly struggling to stay afloat. Subjects adrift in the flow of life, they struggled in their daily lives and their subconscious.
Clang is a photographer/visual artist.
He was born Ang Choon Leng in Singapore, earned his moniker in 1990 while in the National Service as his badge read C L Ang.
In the early 90s, being a Singaporean was extremely difficult to secure meetings locally. However, when he introduced himself as Clang, people were more receptive to meet him, thinking that he was from Europe. It must have been a great disappointment when they met him.
The mundane and the commonplace attract me—I always profess an affinity for subject matters closely related to my daily life. I often dwell upon urban and contemporary themes and landscapes; be it the city or its inhabitants. Intrigued by subtle changes in my environment, I find a corresponding shift in my feelings and thoughts. Hence, my images are a poetic reflection of myself in response to the nuanced changes in my environment.
In series like Silhouette/Urban Intervention (Black Tape), Strangers, Time, Out of Context, Beijing/NYC, Remembering Strangers, My Twilight Window and Self-reflection, I grapple with issues of estrangement and intimacy in an urban space; the displacement of familiar urban objects, views and perspectives; as well as our sense of identity and place in this world.
The deeply personal also occupies my work, specifically the themes of memory, identity and longing as a son living overseas for years and separated from my family back home. In series like Erasure and Guilt, I respectively explore the fears when contemplating the death of a loved one, and the guilt of disappointing our loved ones. Explorations of identity can also take a turn for the playful and provocative—as evidenced in lighter series like Beon Sleeps and Me and Friends.
Ultimately, a good photograph is one that brings us face to face with our own existence. It pulls the stranger standing next to us into the intimate radius of our life. It collapses the beauty and strangeness around us into one. It connects. A good photograph does all these.