Artists: Chua Chye Teck, Noh Suntag, Anup Mathew Thomas and Tomoko Yoneda
Native revisions presents photography and moving image by artists who have returned to particular locations over a number of years. It explores the artists’ intimate understanding of these places: their changing nature, ineffable phenomena and forgotten histories.
The locations in the artists’ works include forests in Singapore, a village in South Korea neighboured by a United States military base, communities in Kerala, India, and significant sites of World War II in Japan. The locations are all connected to the artists’ native regions: Chua Chye Teck, Noh Suntag and Anup Mathew Thomas were born in Singapore, South Korea and Kerala respectively, and Tomoko Yoneda’s parents were evacuated to the Japanese countryside during WWII. The works provide various viewpoints of these locations—from afar, up close, during the day and at night. Visual ‘clues’, titles and accompanying texts also reference the cultural and political contexts that have shaped these places. Together the images and texts show the nuances of places where beauty, humour and tragedy often converge.
The design of the exhibition reflects the works’ sense of mystery. A curtain by Anup Mathew Thomas referring to a photograph divides the gallery. A three-channel video installation by Tomoko Yoneda unfolds within a darkened space. Several works enact revision through photographic techniques and evolving presentations, highlighting the contingent nature of photography and perception. In re-presenting these places, do the artists create new memories of them or preserve them? And how do multiple views, return visits and revision blur our sense of time and the ‘original’ character of places?
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Image: Tomoko Yoneda, Path—Path to the cliff where Japanese committed suicide after the American landings, Saipan, 2003, type C photograph, 76 x 96 cm. © Courtesy the artist and ShugoArts, Tokyo