Ota Fine Arts Singapore is delighted to present a duo exhibition, "Chen Wei + Hiraki Sawa". These two artists work with the photographic/ recorded image, creating narratives that reflect upon occurrences in the world we live in.
Chen Wei (b. 1980, China) seeks to capture beauty in spaces that have been neglected, and his works guide viewers to not only reflect on the rapidly changing landscapes in this contemporary world but to also incite them to ponder on the effects such changes have on themselves. In New Station (2020), an empty bus stop is depicted. Objects such as suitcases, different kinds of boxes and the bus stop’s structure with its empty signboard seem to play the role of the storyteller in this work. In Beijing where Chen is based, he noticed that sometimes newly-built bus stops were left unused for a long time. However, he does not document such scenes as it is. Rather, during the process of making this work, he started to reflect on what a bus stop represents. To him, it suggests the movement of people with different backgrounds and purposes, such as leaving home for school, work, or meeting someone, and it could be a daily commute or a long journey without any plans to return.
Chen’s other work presented here, Trouble #23101 (2023), consists of LED light boards that emit various colours and patterns of light, creating a synchronized rhythm that moves ceaselessly. According to the artist, LED signage boards have become a common sight in the streets of China. However, he noticed that many of them have glitches. Yet, these neglected advertisement boards remain, playing broken patterns of images and letters on loop: an uncanny occurrence which inspired him to create this work.
On the other hand, Hiraki Sawa’s(b.1977, Japan) works diffuses and blurs the boundaries 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. Sawa’s new video piece pilgrim (2022) explores the idea of journey and imagination. Miniature airplanes are seen flying around an Art Deco building that used to belong to the Japanese Royal Family, metaphorically cruising through 100 years of time. "People, when embarking upon a ‘journey,’ perhaps come to experience the faintness and ephemerality of the world they live in, as well as the delightful lightness and casualness of their very own existence… What is more, it doesn’t simply end there, as I believe that after returning, a new journey once again begins in the midst of one’s ordinary everyday life," states the artist.
Also presented in this exhibition, 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. By reconfiguring and reimagining the historical past in his works, viewers experience a personal and psychological journey into a new state of surrealism that at times, can be nostalgic as well.
Ota Fine Arts Singapore invites all to experience the enigmatic worlds of Chen Wei and Hiraki Sawa.