Based on a list of 50 books culled from a series of informal conversations (touching on inequality, racism, homophobia, overpopulation, forced migration, exploitation of labor, overconsumption, climate change, etc) with friends and strangers on Facebook, Because, The Night is a non-profit, second-hand bookshop produced by artist Heman Chong that inhabits 72-13 for six nights in November 2017. It is open between 10pm – 4pm; a space built for people who can’t sleep at night, a temporary home for insomniacs. Books include ‘Men Explain Things to Me’ by Rebecca Solnit, ‘2666’ by Roberto Bolaño, ‘The Bluest Eye’ by Toni Morrison, ‘Archaeologies of the Future’ by Frederic Jameson and many, many more.
Because, The Night extends and follows a thread in Chong’s work that he has woven since 1997. His concerns about the production and distribution of knowledge has brought him to produce exhibitions, conferences, books; playing roles outside of the artist – as curator, writer and of course, the bookseller. The bookshop is a confluence of many things. It is at once a depository of ideas, but at the same time, a social space in which individuals exchange ways of reading and seeing ideas. Chong is particularly interested in the display and the trading of second-hand books, especially books that have been rejected from public and personal libraries; objects discarded and then later discovered by other readers. The book as a object passed from one hand to another, one eye to the next.
In conjunction with this bookshop with strange opening hours, Chong will show two sculptural works from his oeuvre. Firstly, a large selection of “Stacks”, a series he is well known for. Free standing compositions involving books and various glass receptacles (drinking cups, perfume bottles, etc) are stacked to form fragile and intriguing associations with each other. A new series “After Hours” accompanies both the bookshop and the stacks as large, hulking sentinels in the space. These sculptures are fashioned after open air stalls one would encounter in shopping centres or street markets where an entire stall selling all sorts of things are bound up in cloth after closing hours.