With his film The Name (2015), Ho Tzu Nyen, a film maker and visual artist from Singapore, takes a critical look at the history of the Malaysian communist party. The Nameless (2014) was the run-up to his latest theatre piece, The Mysterious Lai Teck.
The Nameless is about Lai Teck, the leader of the Malaysian Communist Party from 1939 until 1947. The man had over fifty aliases and was killed in Thailand in the end, after having been found out as a triple agent for the French and British secret services, as well as the Japanese Kempeitai during the Malaysian occupation. The Nameless is also about cinema and acting. Of all the major film cultures around the world, Hong Kong cinema might have the most intense fascination with suspicious characters such as spies, informants and traitors. As such, Lai Teck’s story about a main character who constantly changes his appearance is told with a number of intense clips. As in The Name, Ho samples material from other films: in this case from the oeuvre of film actor Tony Leung (from Hong Kong). As a result, Lai Teck’s history appears to parallel the course of Leung’s career, who acted in a striking number of spy films.
Ho Tzu Nyen (1976, Singapore) makes films, installations and theatre performances, taking his inspiration from historical and philosophical texts. He received his bachelor’s degree in Creative Arts from the
Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne and his Master of Arts in Southeast Asian Studies from the National University of Singapore. Since then he has worked and exhibited all over the world. His most recent works are part of an ongoing project, The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia, and are populated by figures that can undergo a metamorphosis, such as the weretiger in One or Several Tigers (2017) and the traitor in The Mysterious Lai Teck (2018).
Ho has had solo exhibitions of his works in Kunstverein Hamburg (2018), Ming Contemporary Art Museum, Shanghai (2018), Guggenheim Bilbao (2015), DAAD Galerie, Berlin (2015) and the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012). In 2011 he represented Singapore at the 54th Venice Biennale. His work has been shown at the 12th Gwangju Biennale (2018), in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2017), at the 10th Shanghai Biennale (2014) and the 2nd Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014).
His theatrical works have been have programmed at Kampnagel, Hamburg (2018), TPAM (2018), Asian Arts Theatre, Gwangju (2015), the Wiener Festwochen (2014), Theater der Welt (2010), the KunstenFestivaldesArts (2018, 2008, 2006) and Singapore Arts Festival (2019, 2008, 2006). His films have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 and the film festivals of Berlin (2015), Cannes (2009), Venice (2009), Locarno (2011) and Rotterdam (2008, 2010, 2013). Ho received a DAAD Scholarship in Berlin (2014 – 2015) and was awarded the Grand Prize of the Asia Pacific Breweries Foundation (2015).
- The Nameless, 2015
- Single Channel HD video, stereo sound, 21min 15sec Courtesy the Artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery