absent / home: Hiraki Sawa


Ota Fine Arts Singapore is delighted to present "absent /home", a solo exhibition by Japanese artist Hiraki Sawa. His works have been exhibited globally, including in Singapore, at the ADM Gallery in 2017 and the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore in 2018. This will be the artist's first solo presentation in Singapore, and will feature his most recent video work /home (2017-21) alongside several drawings made in relation. The exhibition also showcases the video piece absent (2018), presented in a handmade monitor box, and IOTA (2016) -- postal stamps made from found family photographs, with unique interventions drawn on their surfaces.

The video work /home (2017-21) portrays a space that retains the remnants of life in the past, reflected through the stains on wallpapers and marks left by furniture. It relives a private space where anyone could have occupied and spent time in. Small airplanes, a motif that first made its appearance in Sawa's early work dwelling (2002), fly around in this space. This latest work reconsiders time and space, and the memories and consciousness that arise from it - suggesting Sawa's unchanged vision as an artist as he approaches consistent themes throughout his practice.

In 2017, Sawa returned to his parents' home in Japan when they were about to move to a new house. It was then when he filmed the footage for /home, at the house where he grew up in, after all the furniture had been removed. The place where he had spent his impressionable childhood remained an emotional support for Sawa even after he moved abroad. For this place to cease to exist, indicated the loss of "home" for Sawa. This experience of losing his family home and thus having no place to go back to, led Sawa to position himself as someone born and raised in an illusory new town that began in modern times. Showcased alongside the video work are several drawings based on this new town, which became a symbol of hope and illusion that society once had with regards to the idea of "home". Perhaps the era of this one form of "home" that is filled with personal and societal hope has ended. Nevertheless, these works seek to bring about the light of the new world that has begun.

On the other hand, the 2018 video work absent features a cast of hybrid characters that populate an uncertain narrative; spoons sprouting bird's wings fly across a bleak landscape, a ghostly pair of scissors paces continuously in a circle, a set of teacups march across an ornate room, where the walls are slowly drifting apart. Sawa transforms the familiar into the strange, a process that reflects the intricacies of memory loss; the unexpected lapses, absences, overlaps, and reinterpretations of memory and reality. Lastly, 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.

Ota Fine Arts Singapore invites you to embark on a poetic, psychological journey into a new state of surrealism presented by Hiraki Sawa.

Installation Views