Conversation with Chow and Lin | from Arte Laguna Prize to MoMa in NY

Based in Beijing, the Singaporean artist duo Chow and Lin, create compelling projects that focus on critical social issues. Their collaborative work explores themes of poverty, income disparity and accessibility. In this interview, we delve into their practice and gain insights into their experience as finalists in the 16th edition of the Arte Laguna Prize in 2022.

Tell us about the work you exhibited at the Arte Laguna Prize?

“Equivalence X:1” questions our perceptual value of items in our daily lives, where we commonly transact and measure in monetary figures. The objects selected are ready-made consumables co-existing in an urban society — a singular mobile phone and pieces of dried pasta. Set in a large format grid, the price of the singular item in the center is equal to the total value of the surrounding items. This visual uniformity masks an underlying contrast which alludes to the subjectivity of the user and audience.


How did it feel to come to Venice and see your work exhibited at the Arsenale Nord?

It was amazing to exhibit our work at the Arsenale Nord. Venice is an important nexus of art, culture and history, and the Arsenale Nord is a landmark location for contemporary art. We are honored to be shown to such a wide audience at this venue. The Arte Laguna team did a wonderful job coordinating the installation.

100:1, 2016

Equivalence X:1, 2022 – Photo taken by Davide Stani during Finalists Exhibition of Arte Laguna Prize 2023, Arsenale Nord of Venice.

What motivated you to enter the Arte Laguna Prize competition, and can you share your application process?

The Arte Laguna Prize is a well recognized international competition for emerging contemporary artists. We had seen other artists whom we respect being involved in earlier editions of the finalist exhibition, and admire the diversity in ideas and forms shown. Our art practice started out in the photography medium and we have used other mediums to push the artistic concept. We thought the Arte Laguna competition would be a great opportunity to present work which expands our method, and to present our work to the panel of esteemed judges.


Were there any challenges you encountered in preparing for the competition, and how did you overcome them?

The Arsenale Nord is a huge location with very high ceilings. It was exciting and challenging to be inventive about using the space to show a visual work that captures attention and conveys our message. It opened up new ideas on how we perceive our own art works, and the different possibilities for audience interaction.

Cans, 2017

Equivalence – The Ecological Footprint of Fish, 2017

Can you share any memorable connections you made during the competition and how they have influenced your artistic career?

It was incredibly inspiring to see the works of other artists from all around the world, and also the final winners. This experience strengthens our growth in the contemporary art world.


What advice do you have for artists considering entering the Arte Laguna Prize competition in the future?

Just take part, and be bold.

Chow and Lin have also exhibited their projects at Arles Les Rencontres de La Photographie, the Art Museum of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art, the Houston FotoFest Biennial, the National University of Singapore Museum and at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok. Their works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the China Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum. Their book, ¨The Poverty Line¨ (2021) can be found in the in the collections of the libraries of both MoMA and the Centre Pompidou.