Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

  • Heman Chong
    born 1977
    active: Singapore
  • Kryptonite, 2008
  • Where object was made: Singapore
  • 3,000 self-adhesive stickers applied directly onto wall
  • Courtesy of the artist
  • Not on display
  • EL2016.003
  • Loan: Not in the Spencer's collection
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Temporal Turn: Art and Speculation in Contemporary Asia", 11-Nov-2016
The title of this work, Kryptonite, refers to the fictional radioactive material and sole weakness of DC Comics hero Superman. Much of artist Heman Chong’s conceptual work deals with issues found in fantasy and science fiction. Kryptonite is part of Chong’s Surfacing series. The title of the series is taken from the novel Surfacing (1972) by Canadian speculative fiction luminary Margaret Atwood. Like the novel, which grapples with identity, the series title raises questions about the nature of surfaces. A surface is illusive, merely hinting at what lies below. Composed of 3,000 stickers adhered directly to a wall according to a loose set of rules devised by Chong, the installation is a clustered mass that simulates cellular growth or interphase. Each incarnation of Kryptonite is made up of individual stickers arranged to form a larger organism in response to a particular context.