Shifting Sands & MOST PEOPLE WERE SILENT
Artists: Sim Chi Yin
Curator: Liu Xiao
Sim Chi Yin's works have reflected a triple world where the creator lives.
In the Malaya region, which has been shaped into a "post-emergency", Singapore as a unique political system became more prominent. In the new century, the artist has traveled around the world, presenting a chaotic but creative reality in her record. The artist also traced the war memories in the family history, spontaneously revealing the magnified "self" behind.
The differences of the three worlds may help us to realize that the artist's observation and accumulation of the small worlds around her has led to the urgent narration of the macro world. It is her unique theme of creation and working style: the image centers on the scenery of a sand dune or a relic, but virtually it is a big map of the changing world's politics and economy.
From the perspectives of creation and editing, we can treat Chi Yin's "scenery" as a theme or topic, but I prefer to call it "vision for discussion".
The discussion revolves around the intuitive record, the perceptual visual expression, and the observation of reality. The two works Most People Were Silent and The Shifting Sands on display are traces of reality left by the modern national and global processes, like advancing historical machines. It is a thick document of heavy weight history.
The "scenery" is the most intuitive in the image.
The islands amid the sea / the new man-made island of sand, sand dunes for children's entertainment / the remains of sand excavation for construction, the bird's eye view of snowy mountain tops / borders with natural deterrence, the weapon interface with flashing lights / a defense engineering museum in the 1960s... Desperate locations, secret ruins and new places, are recorded as romantic scenery. It is paradoxical that the understanding of these landscapes must be based on the knowledge of the international affairs and the world in the modern scene, which is the aesthetic basis implied in her works.
Sim Chi Yin's works are the aesthetic integration of landscape aesthetics and world political and economic imagery. Through historical events, changing reality and symbolic meaning, can we re-appraise "scenery" (landscape painting and landscape photography) as an aesthetic tradition and content, and can there be new enlightenment？
Courtesy of Sim Chi Yin / Magnum Photos
Hatches over silos which in the 1970s held missiles meant to shoot down incoming Soviet warheads, North Dakota, November 2017.
An anti-ballistic missile defense radar facility, North Dakota, November 2017.
A border guard in his sentry post on the China-North Korea border, close to a suspected North Korean missile base, October 2017
Sim Chi Yin
A photographer and artist. She was born in Singapore in 1978, and currently live in London and Beijing.
Sim’s works incorporate a myriad of media such as photography, video, sound, text, archive and performative reading. Sim balances rational and rigorous research with intimate narration, exploring propositions that often revolve around history, memory, conflict and migration.
Sim Chi Yin was a Nobel Peace Prize Photographer in 2017 and held a solo exhibition on the theme of nuclear weapons at the Nobel Peace Centre in Norway. Solo exhibitions include “One Day We’ll Understand” by Hanart Hong Kong in 2019, and the solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Centre of LASALLE College of the Arts in 2018. She was also included in the Istanbul Biennial 2017, exhibitions by Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, Gyeonggi Museum of Art, South Korea and other international institutions. The video installation Most People Were Silent was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2019 (UK).
Nominated as a member of Magnum Photos in 2018, Sim Chi Yin is now a PhD candidate in the Department of War Studies at King's College London.
Born in 1985 in Guiyang, now lives and works in Hangzhou.
Liu Xiao is an art teacher, curator and editor. She has been devoted in art education with long-time experience in contemporary art curating and visual culture research. Now Liu Xiao is more active as a curator-teacher, emphasizing historical research and visual thinking.
She was involved and curated numerous academic exhibitions, including"Weaving & We: Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art 2016", Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou; "Social Factory: Shanghai Biennial 2014", Power Station of Art, Shanghai; "Fabricate and Progress：West Bund Biennial of Architecture and Contemporary Art 2013", West Bund, Shanghai. As an assistant curator, Liu worked on projects such as "Reactivation: Shanghai Biennial 2012" and "Rehearsal: Shanghai Biennial 2010" and more.
Liu Xiao's curatorial practices focus on modern art education in China, and art creation based on material research, covering sculpture, painting, fiber art, glass and photography. Related projects include"Memorial Progress of People: Sculpture in China 1949-2019", "Casting Golden Course: 15 CAA MA Courses", "Exhibition in Honour of E.H. Gombrich's 110th Birthday", "Records of West Lake: Wang Gong Yi & Yan Shanchun", China Academy of Art Museum, Hangzhou; "Thus Have I Heard: Zheng Wenqing", Shanghai Museum of Glass;"Won't Somebody Bring the Light: Tsun-Shing Cheng", Central Academy of Fine Art Museum, Beijing; "Seeking Historical Traces of Gold Mountains: Zheng Senchi", Guangdong Museum of Art, 2011. Ongoing independent research, publication and on-site social event projects include "National Road"and"Reading at Night".