My mixed-media work investigates the intersection between history, memory, and fiction. The starting point of this work posits that the feeling of nostalgia and the formulation of experience are always historical and discursive. Thus the investigation is pulled from two seemingly dichotomous imperatives – one that strives to make sense of and to faithfully archive the irretrievable past, the other establishing that these objectives are, in fact, always processes of myth-making for the sake of the present. In that vein, I situate my work in a realm where conceptual rigor co-exists with emotive and personal impulses – and where the tongue-in-cheek can also be utterly sincere. My recent projects have been equally motivated by a deep sentimental relationship to family photographs and heirlooms and a skepticism towards the enterprises and epistemologies of history and memory. Thus fiction and humor can both describe symptom as well as offer antidote.
Ilyn Wong works in a wide variety of mediums to investigate the intersection between history, historiography, memory, and fiction. She has a BFA in Painting from Washington University in St. Louis and an MA in Art History from the University of Amsterdam. Wong has participated in residencies and been members in collaboratives in Massachusetts, Berlin, Spain, Montana, and Amsterdam. She received an artist grant from the city of Somerville, as well as grants from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee. Most recently, she was a participant at the ICP-Bard symposium Memories Can’t Wait and the Parsons