Jeremy Tsang’s hybrid identity of being born in Hong Kong during the occupation of the British Colony, and then immigrating to Canada and raised as a Canadian, informs many aspects of his artistic practice. His exploration as a whole attempts to encapsulate the present day 21st century conditions and experiences. What it means to exist in this era during the mass spread of globalization, where most of us have a background of cultural diaspora, raised without religion in the suburbs and in the omnipresence of the virtual reality. There is a constant absence of the artist in his work even if the art is based out of his own personal experience. Although the medium in each work differs (from object-making, reinterpretation of found ephemera, to purely photographic or installation based), Tsang’s art is strongly rooted from a traditional documentary photography perspective.
Because of urban-globalization and the internet, we are in the era of the instantaneity. Where experiences that used to be special and one of a kind to their geographical existence is now readily available on the internet (i.e. through the use of Google Map/Street View, image search, live streams, and the news) or in the case of food or material items they travel great distances to be available in store locally. The use of suburbia, karaoke, Chinese lightbox signage, dim sum, and packing materials from various Asian supermarkets links together experiences that are synonymous in each and one of us today. And at the same time the work tries to question the levels of consumption and their authenticity.
In this era where everything is readily available and the common want to share anything regarding everything to everybody is ubiquitous. The game of news, censorship, surveillance and information collecting has evolved tremendously because of this. Through the advancements in technology have we gained more control on the self and autonomy or ever so much more lost hold? The collision of the public and private identities has occurred. While attempting to dissect these moments of impact, Tsang’s work seeks to examine the latter, where the deception of truth verses the real is unfailingly controlled, produced and altered. The playful juxtaposition between the imagined and the real, the strange and the familiar, the old and the new are common recurring aspects of his style. In his work, elements are often isolated (from ersatz building materials, personification of identity in a home, to being observed through the lens of today’s life) in order to focus in on the main issues clearly. In sum, Jeremy Tsang’s artistic practice uses an anthropological lens to project an honest reflection of modern life and offers a glimpse of a possible future.