Sriwhana Spong

Sriwhana Spong is an artist of New Zealand and Indonesian descent currently living and working in London. She is interested in the fertile margins and the rich edges where things meet, working across various mediums such as sculpture, film, writing, performance, dance, and sound.

Her materials are often inspired by the everyday materials used in Balinese offerings—assemblages that are not made to last and that incorporate formal patterns with informal additions of what is close at hand. Her large silk banners dyed in Fanta, Coca-cola, and tea function more than unalloyed reproaches of global homogeneity through colonisation and capitalism, but also consider the power of collective experience by acknowledging these consumed substances’ effect as being at once toxic and joyous. Her ever-expanding ‘personal orchestra’, an ongoing series of instruments, explores the writing of place, history, and the body through sound.

The formal and informal also meet in her sculptures and films where experiential knowledge, autobiography, and fiction are entangled with carefully researched materials and forms that reflect their particular cultural contexts and sources. Here Spong also draws on the writings of female medieval mystics, attempting to translate their ‘mystic style’—a preference for experiential knowledge over institutionalised knowledge, autobiography, fiction, close observation, and the everyday—into films and sculptures that explore the relationship of the body to language, how it is written, and how it exceeds and escapes this inscribing.