Ho Tzu Nyen "A for Agents"

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
  • 10% off per person
  • Up to 2 people
  • Not applicable for set tickets. Not valid with other discounts.

Tap the button above before using MuPon. One use only.

Until Jul 7Discount


Ho Tzu Nyen
Singaporean artist Ho Tzu Nyen’s films, video installations, and performances traverse historical events, political ideologies, subjectivities, and cultural identities of Southeast Asia. Drawing from existing film footage, archival material, and documentation, rearranged into abstract yet evocative images, his work renders the complexities of geopolitical histories palpable. Ho’s work has been presented in numerous art institutions and biennials as well as theaters and film festivals worldwide. In Japan, he has participated in exhibitions including Time of Others at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo in 2015. He has produced new work for the Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama (TPAM) in 2018 and again in 2021, Aichi Triennale 2019, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM) in 2021, and Toyota Municipal Museum of Art in 2021–22.

This latest exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Ho Tzu Nyen: A for Agents, traces the trajectory of the artist’s practice, presenting six film-based installations alongside a new work. The exhibition includes Ho’s earliest video installation, Utama—Every Name in History Is I (2003), which challenges the modern narrative of Singapore’s foundations by tracing its pre-colonial origin to Sang Nila Utama, who is said to have named the land “Singapura” (Lion City, in Sanskrit). Singapore’s past also features in One or Several Tigers (2017), where 3D animations of a tiger and a human morph into various instances of the ruler and the subjugated, including the precolonial tiger as ancestor spirit and the mythological weretiger; the colonial encounter of a tiger and the road surveyor George D. Coleman who served the British administration in the nineteenth century; and the battle between the British army and the “Tiger of Malaya,” Japanese military commander Tomoyuki Yamashita, during World War II.

A pair of works in the exhibition, The Nameless and The Name (both 2015) use existing film footage to speculate on two enigmatic individuals from Malaya’s tumultuous political past. The Nameless sheds light on the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Malaya, Lai Teck, who operated as a triple agent for the British, French, and Japanese during World War II. At the same time, The Name takes up the story of Gene Z. Hanrahan, who authored publications on the Malayan Communist Party using highly classified information- some believe him to be a ghostwriter.

The exhibition also includes Ho’s online project The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia (2012–ongoing), which serves as a matrix for his productions. An algorithm continuously generates the sequencing of sampled images and keywords and resists any definitive meaning of the term “Southeast Asia.”

Among Ho’s works produced in Japan over recent years, Voice of Void (2021) is presented in the exhibition. Consisting of VR (virtual reality) and six-channel videos, this installation restages conversations, speeches, and texts of the philosophers of the Kyoto School, who advocated for overcoming Western modernity and speculated on the value of establishing the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Voice of Void invites us to navigate across different time spaces and become immersed in discussions among members of the Kyoto School, such as on the ethics of Japanese military ventures, the question of sacrificing one’s life for the nation, or founder Kitaro Nishida’s idea of “nothingness.”

T for Time (2023) marks a new chapter in Ho’s practice. It will be shown in Japan for the very first time. Based on an algorithm, the work generates sequences of images from multiple fragments of sampled footage to animate various aspects and scales of time: from elementary particles to the life span of different organisms to the vastness of the universe. The sequences evoke a multitude of meanings, sensations, and narratives while questioning what is time, what mediates time, how we experience it, and what we could imagine time to be.


Now in session

Apr 6 (Sat) 2024-Jul 7 (Sun) 2024 45 days left

Opening Hours Information

Open on April 29 and May 6.
Close on April 30 and May 7.
FeeAdults ¥1500; University Students, Seniors 65 & Over ¥1100; High School and Junior High School Students ¥600; Elementary School Students and Under free.

 10% discount / Up to 2 people / Not applicable for set tickets. Not valid with other discounts.

Download the TAB app to get a discount on entry to this event.

Paid subscriber only

Click here for details
VenueMuseum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Location4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0022
Access9 minute walk from exit B2 at Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station on the Hanzomon line, 14 minute walk from exit 3 at Kiba Station on the Tozai line.
Phone050-5541-8600 (Hello Dial)
Related images

Click on the image to enlarge it


View All