Memories are fundamental for human beings' existence, and is always a source of inspiration for artists. This viewing room features two of the gallery’s artists, Chen Wei and Hiraki Sawa, and explores how memory inspires and leads to artistic productions. While the two artists have different approaches, interesting stories which stem from memories unfold within their works.
Chen Wei utilizes visual metaphors to highlight ideas in his work. Light of Folding Bed (2009) narrates his memory whereby he used to sleep on similar folding beds during his youth. At times when he had trouble falling asleep, many thoughts would cross his mind while lying in bed. His memory of those nights and thoughts are fragmented, like the broken glass that reflect rays of light. At the same time, he presents an uncanny irony here – while the bed covered in sharp shards of glass has lost its association with ideas of comfort and rest, the precarious glass fragments glisten enticingly.
The scenes in Chen’s photography works are often staged sets that are carefully handcrafted scaled-down models. He utilizes different motifs found from his observation of urban landscapes in China and reimagines the beauty within them, blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction, landscapes and dreamscapes.
Hiraki Sawa’s IOTA series (2016) explores the representation of memories and figures, in the form of postal stamps with images of found family photographs taken from albums belonging to his grandmother. Patterns and shapes are carefully drawn on top with white ink, as the artist reimagines time and memory, reworking an imagined past
In his most recent works on paper from the Memoria Paralela (2019) series, Sawa illustrates his perception of time and memory. The drawings are an extension of his video piece, Memoria Paralela (2019), which continues from two earlier video works, lineament (2012) and did i? (2011). The starting point for these works was a friend's loss of memory, which led Sawa to explore concepts of memory and consciousness in the narratives that he created. The drawings feature motifs from Sawa’s surreal world: the lighthouse represents a point in time, while the trumpet relates to radial time.
Sawa experiments with the human perception in his practice, often creating works that diffuse the lines between domestic and public spaces, interweaving the familiar and unfamiliar of the everyday to create dream-like scenescapes and moving images that begets one’s imagination.
About the artists
Chen Wei (b. 1980, Zhejiang, China) currently lives and works in Beijing. Selected solo exhibitions include “Where Are You Going Tonight”, chi K11 art space, Guangzhou (2018), “The Club”, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2017), “Chen Wei: In the Waves”, chi K11 art museum, Shanghai (2015). Chen also participated in numerous group exhibitions such as “Phantom Plane, Cyberpunk in the Year of the Future”, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (2019), “Night Fever. Designing Club Culture 1960-today”, Vitra Design Museum, Germany (2018) and “The Genius of the Crowd”, Jendela Visual Arts Space, Singapore (2017). His works are in public collections including Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, China, Yuz Museum, China, K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong, M+ Sigg Collection, Hong Kong, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA.
Hiraki Sawa (b. 1977, Ishikawa, Japan) currently lives and work in London and Kanazawa. His solo exhibitions have been held at the Vincom Center for Contemporary Art, Vietnam(2018), Parafin, UK(2016), Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo (2014), Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo (2012), la Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archeologie, Besançon (2010), National Museum of Victoria, Melbourne (2006). His recent group exhibitions include “Borders”, James Cohan gallery (2019),“Two Houses: Politics and histories in the contemporary art collections of John Chia and Yeap Lam Yang” ICA Singapore (2018), “Hinterland”, Roaming Room, London (2016) and “Roppongi Crossing 2016 – My Body, Your Voice”, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2016).
Chen Wei + Hiraki Sawa