Venue: No 20 Arts, 20 Cross Street London N1 2BG
From December 10, 2021 until February 26, 2022
The group exhibition at No 20 Arts presents works that tie in with traditional craftsmanship, featuring emerging artists of Asian descent. On display works by Yang-En Hume, Seungwon Jung, Shivanjani Lal, and Sunghoon Yang. These artists reframe the past through their personal memories, addressing the history of all people.
Alongside the feminine delicacy of the embroidered surfaces and vaporous lace, we find tactile and provocative surfaces that delve into memory: carpets, tangles, thick seams.
The works in the exhibition excavate in-depth, aiming to involve and impact the viewer by unearthing those craft practices that are often left on the margins, such as the stories associated with them.
Yang-En Hume is an Australian-Singaporian artist living in London who uses textiles, installations and photograms as her primary expressive medium. Interested in archival practices, Hume explores how come only certain objects find a place and are celebrated in museums.
Using used lace, textiles and family photographs from flea markets, Hume creates suspended installations and photograms. Object scans and photos are printed on translucent fabric and often involve embroidery. Their layering and distortion embody the fragmentary nature of memory, representing moments from the past and personal histories.
Her installation, Mausoleum (2020), is the exhibition’s focal point. On an organza net descending from the ceiling to the floor, sewn portraits of women are visible, either in their entirety or violently cut. Anonymous faces, deliberately made hardly recognisable. These images, found in flea markets, in Mausoleum become essential elements of an archive of everyday stories, those told outside the circuit of institutionalised narrative.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Seungwon Jung lives and works in London. Jung creates works that lie between digital and traditional craftsmanship, using photography to create tapestries, sculptures and prints.
Her subjects are images of rock deposits that have developed into geological layers. Each stratum is associated with a period, revealing millions of years of history. The rock image is digitally translated into a textile pattern that constitutes the outline upon which the artist knots the tapestry by hand, reflecting on the passage of time.
Shivanjani Lal is an Australian artist of Indo-Fijian descent who lives and works in Australia and the UK. Drawing on historical documents, family photographs and materials specifically chosen for their conceptual connection to the project, Lal creates sculptures, installations and works on paper.
In this exhibition, red threads embroidered on maps show the route of the British ships that transported Lal’s ancestors from India to Fiji to work as labourers in the sugar cane fields. Her work aims to bring forth this history, exploring the theme of family migration and ancestral loss to build futures of healing.
Maps are shown in repetition on the gallery’s back wall; their scale, seriality and clinical exactitude trace the development of this exploitation year by year, from 1879 to 1920. Poking holes in the paper, Lal’s red dots on these atlases are a literal mapping of colonial struggles across time and space: displaced communities, exploitation of labour, and the legacy of identity crises affecting generations born into the diaspora.
A connection to sugar returns in Lal’s sculptures. Each was created by pouring plaster, sometimes enriched with turmeric, into sugar cane casts. The broken parts of these fragile sculptures speak of the fragmented histories of diaspora communities. The exhibition prospectus listed the origins of Lal’s installation materials, identifying the work communities: brown paper from Marine Lines, Bombay, red kite string from Byculla, Bombay, sugar sacks from Sigatoka Town, Fiji, among others. Although still incomplete, this perceptive approach suggests the beginning of a repair necessary for future healing.
Sunghoon Yang is a South Korean artist based in Daegu. Using catalogues and photographs of traditional Korean ceramics, Yang creates paintings that explore ideas of memory and time.
Memory I and Memory II each show a singular ceramic, filling the canvas. Based on moon jars found in domestic museums, and national and private collections, these works reflect the hands through which the pottery has passed over hundreds of years. They embody the stories of each person who once held it in the cracks and imperfections visible on the surface.
“Threads of Time” makes us ponder events that have not been acknowledged by official Historiography. It brings back buried memories and critiques the institutionalisation of memories and the following hegemonic narrative.
About No 20 Arts
Opened in January 2017, No 20 Arts is a centre for contemporary arts. A multi-functional space, the gallery hosts a programme of exhibitions, performances and events that support emerging and established artists working across all media.
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No 20 Arts +44 (0)207 226 9083
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London N1 2BG no20arts.com