Friday, August 30th, 2019
Ben Ali Ong
Pingyao International Photography Festival
Congratulations to Artereal Artist Ben Ali Ong on being invited to exhibit as part of the 2019 Pingyao Festival of Photography in Pingyao, China.

Titled Light, Time. At the Edge of the Universe, the exhibition is curated by artist and academic Simone Douglas.


Participating artists include:

Shoufay Derz
Ben Ali Ong
Colin Stearns
Alyssa Minahan
Kim Hoeckele
Cali Kurlan
Ryo Sato
Shan Turner-Carroll
Kate Wollongong
Sanja Pahoki
Yvette Hamilton
Ghosts of Nothing (with Albert Falzon)
The Pingyao International Photography Festival was initiated in 2001, and is being hosted for the 19th consecutive year. The festival is held annually in the ancient city of Pingyao in Shanxi Province and is one of the most important celebrations of photographers’ work worldwide. The 2019 Pingyao International Photography Festival runs from 19-25 September 2019.
In an era dominated by Instagram and snapchat filters, a world in which photoshopped images have become the norm, Ben Ali Ong’s works are part of a lineage which celebrates and explores the magic and mysteries of film, where manipulation is an experimental process that emerges from scientific experimentation within the confines of the darkroom. In creating recent works, Ong has embraced the imperfections and flaws inherited when working with old and expired vintage film – the happenstance marks of mould, scratches and dust indirectly documenting the passage of time.


Preferring the artworks to speak for themselves, Ong presents each new body of work in a manner that allows the viewer to construct their own self-reflective linkages, meanings and interpretations. This idea of the viewer as a narrator, or someone cast in the role of a decoding sleuth, is concurrent throughout all of Ong’s works and is inspired by Surrealist film and writing. The notion of the artwork being an open-ended fragment with multiple arrangements as well as the potential to convey a subconscious, or spiritual source.


The inherent allure of Ben Ali Ong’s photographs stems from the psychological pull which draws the viewer into each work. Ong’s work has an underlying sense of anguish and sorrow (perhaps even horror) which clings to these black and white photographs. The shadowy, brooding drama and chiaroscuro of the artist’s work captures the delicate interplay between lightness and darkness in a way which acts as a visual metaphor for the vagaries of human existence; alluding to the idea that the beauty and fragility of life are inseparable from the horror and sorrow which accompany it. The resulting emotional pull resonates with and touches some deep inner core which resides within all humanity, transporting us away from our everyday existence. In this way, Ong’s photographs, which are at once both beautiful and frightening, achieve a timeless, unknown, almost half forgotten quality or existence which touches upon ideas of life, death and morality.

Ben Ali Ong_The best men die of a broken heart for the things they can not tell_2018_Pigment Inkjet Print_Edition of 3_76 x 110cm.

The best men die of a broken heart for the things they can not tell_2018_Pigment Inkjet Print_Edition of 3_76 x 110cm.