Matthew Hong
Editor / Creative Director

Primarily a poet, his books include I, Faust, Cities & Dust, and Exit Orpheus.

Excerpts from his writings have appeared in Arcade, American Aesthetic Journal, Don’t Take Pictures, Pixel Press, with readings performed at The Artists’ Quarter, KFAI Radio, The Loft, The Loring Café, Bar + Playhouse, and Walker Art Center.

He has served on the Board of Directors for such organizations as St. Paul Art Collective, COMPAS / United Arts, Colors Magazine, and on the selection committee with The Loft Literary Center / Bush Foundation Writers’ Grant.

Text adaptations have been produced in theaters for Ecole Meyerhold’s The Battle, and featured in interviews with Saint Paul Pioneer Press, SPNN, uneExpo, and SpeakOut / SPCA. His dramatic poem, Exit Orpheus was produced in Paris, 2012.

Hong founded Photo Boite in 2010 and authored the preface for On The Periphery by Sinziana Velicescu, as well as collaborating on numerous projects with other individuals and organizations including Bill Phelps, Dude Magazine, CultRise, and Walker Art Center.

Hong heads the studio The Artbox with design projects for YSL, Loo & Lou Gallery, Vidal Saint Phalle, Chimera, Maurizio Amadei, and many artists & photographers including Erick Basilio, David Hillegas, Joel Werring, and Aurelie Deguest.

Among these and other projects, he is currently working on another epic poem, Exoration.

Hong is the Founder / Editor & Creative Director of ARTPIL.

Avant-Propos / Exit Orpheus

It would not be without reluctance and perhaps too, some remorse, that I should publish this piece.

This work would be conceived towards the latter months of the final redaction of the epic poem, I, Faust. The succession of one forgotten form after another would seem twice-fold futile. Adding to this, yet another impossible legend, Orpheus. And as customary, it could not be a homage to the beauty of his vertiginous song, but rather his final shrill and tragic gesture still resounding in the halls of Hades.

I would often wonder about the chosen trajectory of my artistic formation and my feeling obliged to move in these terms. I had for some time certain verses strident in the veins, circulating an unsettling kind of homeostasis, pulsating for another insufferable task – the phantom pains in the aftermath of a twenty-year project finally let go. – Or more decidedly, the inert resin of everything unaccomplished of an otherwise unfortunate life.

Many times I had tried to evacuate these lines which had formed but lingered unarticulated. The published abstract of Cities & Dust was to be something of a chronicling, however without much condolence in its epistolary respiration.

So I would descend into my purgatory and resurface with this thing all too personal and without levity. Granted, this work would be much less autobiographical in scope than any previous attempt, but was to bear a deliberate resemblance to a reality which I was to just barely survive and from which I would wander forever marked.

I would since uproot myself to foreign territories, acclimate to a different tongue, no doubt with a drive to distance myself from the refuse of all this, to forget the English language as it were, and to deny its poetry which for me had been for a major period a kind of life force.

Though I may be no less compromising at present, I could say without any affectation that my general disposition was much more serious before when I was twenty than today as I approach forty. I was stronger then than I am now. I would think of those who preceded me and wonder whether I had not over-dwelled in this domain. I had been feeling the progressive decline of my life as a writer. There would eventually be an argument woven for my having restrained myself in my first pursuit of painting and the fine arts – anything from embarking on this path where inspiration was to be long since struck from the manifest and whatever aspiration wrested away and waylaid. Perhaps I had been summoned to assume the fallow strains of my own dissolution. I had effectively written myself into an improbable abyss, with such a terrible finale in the treatment of Faust, I was to believe I would never again rise after. One does not simply scribe an epic poem, one survives it. The only explanation for my continuing is brut insanity, or the absurd adherence to that forsaken presumption that I should somehow faithfully remain a poet.

Now having written it, I am unable to place this work in the greater scope of things. This piece would once be described as Shakespeare meeting Mamet, dining with Robbe-Grillet. Somewhat germanic in treatment and undeniably post-structuralist, it would be quite concise in its purpose, at parts even terse. – Understood, very little to illuminate its reason for being. Why I should concede to release this would remain concealed. Having derived no comfort in its dialectical opposite would have its perennial Socratic persuasion. Perhaps I had found pretext with the premise that it was a theater piece and thus open to adaptation, perhaps a sense of comfort that its readership or audience in any event was destined to be quite limited. I might be excused given my near conviction that this would be the last thing I should ever put to page. I would thus provoke the extradition of these words to their appointed vessel. Admittedly, there had been a desire to bury this thing entirely, or continue working on it for the next twenty years, which would undoubtedly amount to the same.

Surely the errors of judgment in the life of a man abound. Whereas, I had not been absolved of such tendencies in any of the aspects of my own existence, nor discharged from the various pursuits making up such patterns which presupposed for me a semblance of some meaning.

Whereas, in the face of this reality there is a will to abstain from any engagement of action, or at least to not make any sudden motions. With age I would move more and more in default rather than in defiance.

Whereas, I should not be consoled, nor my faith restituted, in the reception of this work, as had been clearly the case with the previous work. My naïveté, unlike my vanity, would have its apparent and proper limits. And my pride would have long since been abashed.

Therefore, with distinct humility, and with whatever reverence might be preserved in me, I would dedicate this piece to the one, to whom I had been unable to dedicate, among other things, my previous work.

I would present this here, now while I should still be capable, before my words truly resound as those of a dead man. And so it would come to pass, my own backward gaze, impertinent and so full of noise, and still poised for pardon.

–Matthew Hong / Exit Orpheus

Authored Articles
International Women’s Day / 2022
Artpil / Prescription .127
More terrible is love in Kyiv than magnificent Venetian passions. Butterflies fly light and maculate into bright tapers –...
Year End 2021
This Triumphant Nothingness
Once again we arrive at the end of another year. 2021 was a year replete with contradictions and conflict,...
Our 4th Year Anniversary
ARTPIL / Prescription .124
We are rounding out our fourth year with over 2 million visits strong. A very exciting journey it has...
ARTPIL / Prescription .123
The Heart Has its Reasons
A minor eulogy in the mortuary of reparations in the otherwise growing trend of reversing Civil Rights and the...
Martin Luther King Jr.
MLK & the Civil Rights Movement
American civil inequities have been transformed into legal institutionalized violence and continues today; the very notion of equality as...
A Look Back on 2020
ARTPIL / Prescription .119
This would be the world we would inhabit for the time. And so holiday celebrations would toast on a...
The Shadow Pandemic
Artpil / Prescription .118
This other virus, which has existed for a far greater period of time and whose rate of contagion is...
ARTPIL / Prescription .116
Spiritus Mundi
"Turning and turning in the widening gyre the falcon cannot hear the falconer; Thing fall apart; The center cannot...
A Matter of Black Lives
ARTPIL / Prescription .114
Following the murder of George Floyd by police officers, demonstrations across the U.S. and beyond ignite against racism and...
ARTPIL / Prescription .113
Dunning, Kruger & Co.
Confinement has been wearisome with severe economic consequences. The world is now looking to reopening with varying levels of...
ARTPIL / Prescription .112
Nec Plus Ultra
Deep into confinement, the world was not prepared for this. A benchmark in history, a kairos in our collective...
Darkest Hour / Thomas Ralph
Britain, Exit Stage Right
It’s never felt quite as isolating to live in the British Isles as it does in the wake of...
Year End / 2019
ARTPIL / Prescription .107
Promethean fire, water from Sisyphus. Let us remember this day. As Hegel tells us, the world's history is not...
Elimination of Violence
Art, Women & Awareness
In many societies femicide is still classified as honorable, sex-trafficking is often protected under the guise of marriage, and...
ARTPIL / Prescription .105
Destiny Manifest
The building of cathedrals, the crowning of emperors, the expansion of countries, the exploiting of agencies, and the so-called...
Let Us Now Give Thanks
Native American Art
It's Thanksgiving. A nation’s founding conditioned on colonialism, proclamation premised on the blood of the natives and sustained with...
ARTPIL / Prescription .094
War & Peace, & war
France & Portugal against Spain; Russia against England; England against the U.S.; England and France against the Dutch; Race...
Race relations in America
We are continuing to see the succession of incidents of discrimination and brutality against the black population. Today we...
ARTPIL / Prescription .079
Spring summer fall winter spring
Into the ides of January and resolutions have already been tested. The beginning, the middle, the end, and the...
Look Back on 2018
ARTPIL / Prescription .077
2018 comes to an end, we can almost hear the fireworks. Let our solitude be a period of self...
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
70 year Anniversary
Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family...
ARTPIL / Prescription .060
locusts by day, crickets by night
The evening terrace delivers the view of the summer’s end. Wicker and linen abide with sandals raised on the...
The List / Banu Cennetoglu
documented deaths of migrants
The List, complied by UNITED and propagated by artist Cennetoğlu, traces the deaths of over 34,000 refugees, asylum seekers...
ARTPIL / Prescription .055
Blood Moon Exoration
The Blood Moon eclipse is tonight. Let such celestial activity continue to remind us how spectacular our universe persists,...
Nelson Mandela
1918 – 2013
Today is the centennial of the birth of Nelson Mandela and we honor his life and work through a...
The American Document / Part II
Fractured States / Peter van Agtmael
After returning from years of war coverage, van Agtmael tries to piece together the memory, identity, race, class, and...
Pure Hearts / Directed by Roberto De Paolis
various release dates
Parallel lives collide in Roberto De Paolis' film, Pure Hearts, as two unsuspecting protagonists negotiate fear, love, and redemption...
Haitian Art
Of Resilience and Resistance
Today marks the eighth anniversary of the tragic earthquake which struck Haiti, taking the lives of nearly a quarter...
Irving Penn / Grand Palais, Paris
Sep 21, 2017 – Jan 29, 2018
This exhibition looks back over his seventy-year career, with over 200 photographic prints, all produced by the artist himself,...
Look Back on 2017
ARTPIL / Prescription .025
So here we are, the last day of the year, 2017. We are wrapping up our first 6 months,...
the art of suffrage
The latest calamity, or rather, the oldest now resurfaced and gaining media attention, compels us to revaluate our behavior...
On the Periphery
by Sinziana Velicescu
This is God’s country, south seeking solstice on roads leading no where, crossing nothing. Today, there are two suns...
Art & Politics in America
Deconstructing the West Wing
Some believe art is created through a certain self reflection. Politicians rarely deal in this process. Governance, however, should...
Mountain Ranch by Michael Crouser
University of Texas Press
This powerful photo essay traces the last vestiges of a tradition that exerts a universal fascination and mystique, the...
Visions of the Other America
Independence Day
America has always been considered as something of a contradiction. With eyes now already towards the midterms and the...
Documenta 14
April 8 – Sep 17, 2017
Founded in 1955 by artist and curator Arnold Bode and running every 5 years, this year's iterative edition, Documenta...