Aze Ong, Jonathan Ching

February 16 - March 18, 2023


Eventuality hints at a possible outcome. The outcome is from a chain of factors that lead to such. There is certainty in its possibility unless something is changed within these chain of factors. Crocheting is a process of looping yarn into a patterned fabric with the use of a hooked needle. Strings of yarn are bound to form networks of these patterns, some so random or as monstrously chaotic as those woven by Aze Ong who mainly crochets biomorphic forms that engulf spaces, both indoor and outdoor. For this show, she proposes the concept of “detachment” but it ultimately defers to connections, linkages, networks, in the whole gamut of yarn work. To detach in such process is to unravel, untangle, to straighten out or at its extreme, to cut. The resulting woven fabric mold the body, it constricts and cover. It forms a choreography with body and materials as fingers, limbs, torso entwine with the yarn, in the duration of its labor. A pose remains still for a certain period completing a foot of stitching – as the body shifts, the yarn shifts as well, resulting in a tapestry of a durational dance with string and restraint.


There is a strange familiarity in seeing a crumpled tarp which Jonathan Ching chooses to depict in one of his paintings, mainly as it mimics a mountain range. A paradox underlining the superficiality of forms, or rather the double referencing of such form – a tarp > a photo > a painting. Yet we choose to see what we want to see. It’s a mountain range because our mind says it so, yet it’s just a dirty old discarded tarp, that’s strangely familiar when we get a glimpse of Aze’s biomorphic forms that are similarly colored.


In another painting, Jonathan depicts a fallen black swallowtail butterfly, its bright black and white pattern almost indistinguishable from the debris where it rests, almost crushed flat like a granite flooring. He titles this piece, Death on The Dancefloor. It readily hinges on tragedy and despair and inevitability. A life cut short so rapidly, and maybe so unnecessarily, so wantonly. This is where I think about their show’s title Eventuality. What are things that do eventually come? Death and decay, falling from a height. Eventuality connotes pre-determination it seems, something that’s destined or fated. All coming also from a causality of consequences. The butterfly effect, where small things can have non-linear impacts on a complex system or rather, small events serving as catalysts that act on starting conditions. This is none more illustrated in Ray Bradbury’s short story A Sound of Thunder. A time traveling caper that ended in disaster. For want of hunting down a Tyrannosaurus rex, a butterfly was trampled on the boot of a clueless time-travelling tourist, and the balance of existence has been irreversibly disturbed :


“Eckels felt himself fall into a chair. He fumbled crazily at the thick slime on his boots. He held up a clod of dirt, trembling, “No, it cannot be. Not a little thing like that. No!” Embedded in the mud, glistening green and gold and black, was a butterfly, very beautiful and very dead.”


“Not a little thing like that! Not a butterfly!” cried Eckels. It fell to the floor, an exquisite thing, a small thing that could upset balances and knock down a line of small dominoes and then big dominoes and then gigantic dominoes, all down the years across Time. Eckels’ mind whirled. It couldn’t change things. “Killing one butterfly couldn’t be that important! Could it?” Is the death of one creature not that important in the scheme of things? Or is it just an eventuality we all have to contend with in our spiral to entropy?


Lena Cobangbang