28 Nov 2013: In an increasingly mobile and socially complicated world, the idea of ‘home’ is no longer a simple definition for many people. For their latest exhibition,Motherland, Chan Hampe Galleries brings together three artists to give their interpretation of the concept.
The exhibition takes its name from Sherman Ong’s ongoing film series (of which a few are shown in the gallery), depicting actors reciting the stories of real-life migrants in Singapore. Robert Zhao Renhui has also provided three works from his As We Walked on Water series, which depict landscapes from a desert in Japan.
Rounding out the group is locally-based Taiwanese-American artist Mike HJ Chang, who created several new works for the exhibition. ‘I’m not very sure [what “home” means to me],’ he admits. ‘I don’t think I even use the word “home” very much nowadays. If I use the word in conversation, I am probably referring to the place where I’m going to go to take a nap and where I feel comfortable reading in my boxers. I know these are just the superficial things, but to be honest, I don’t think about it much these days.’
The show’s title, he continues, is a bit of ‘a loaded term that could draw unnecessary emphasis on the wrong things sometimes’. Nevertheless, the underlying theme is relevant to his background and his work. ‘Is home a “place”, or a “space”, or both?’ he muses. ‘[One of my pieces] uses some postcards I bought when I was in Bali. They’re very generic beach postcards: palm trees, surfboards in the sand, sunset on the horizon, etc. They could have been from any tropical beach destination, so there is confusion in terms of identifying familiar scenes and how we respond to that.’
Chang’s additional works, including several sculptures and collages, also show his ‘affinity with the generic, low-brow type of image or design’, he says. ‘These kind of clichés do have a special place in our emotive space. I feel comfortable with them.’