BY THE TIME WE ARE GONE
28 – 30 June 2019
Safehouse 1, 139 Copeland Road, Peckham, London SE15 3SN
Within the medical and legal contexts, death is often defined as a moment or state where all vital functions of a living organism cease to operate. Bereft of life, bodies start to decompose, decay and eventually disappear into the hereafter nothingness. The occurrence of death also simulates the termination of all social and familial bonds an individual shares with others. Sentiments such as depression, grief and sorrow thus ensue from the bereavement and loss.
Challenging this reductive, and oftentimes negative, perception of death, By the time we are gone probes the complexity of the biological condition to experiment with its transformative potential. Taking the forms of an exhibition, a discussion tearoom and a publication, this project brings together artists Tan Kian Ming, Parichat Tanapiwattanakul, Wu Pei Chi and Siuman Wu to explore death not as the ultimate ending, but as points of departure that catalyse discussions around cultural, societal, religious and environmental issues.
The exhibition is curated by SE°111 and sponsored by Goldsmiths Alumni & friends Fund. Founded in 2018, SE°111 is a curatorial collective led by Rinrada Na Chiangmai, Sandra Lam, and I-Ying Liu. Our practice stems from but is not limited to, the social, political and cultural background(s) we are born and raised in. We aim to provide a platform that supports artists from both East/Southeast Asia and other underrepresented communities.
Life after life (2019), plants
Shhhhh (2019) clay and plants
Inequivalent Exchange (2019), video
Hong Kong artist Siuman Wu cultivates alternative methods of communication between human and organic matters such as plants, soil and remains of animals, in examination of human-nature relationship as well as the everlasting cycle of life, death and rebirth.
Does the life after death exist? (2019), print and Notion of afterlife (2019), video
Through various appropriations of the flowers used in religious rituals, Thai artist Parichat Tanapiwattanakul critiques the power of human beings in the scientific prolongation of life. She contemplates how these beliefs evolve and metamorphose in the contemporary secular world that is highly technologised.
Death Cafe is a long-running model that provides its participants with a safe space to discuss death. Adapting it to the context of contemporary art, our Death Tearoom takes the works of the participating artists as points of departure to catalyse group directed conversations around traditional customs, religious rituals, imagination of afterlife and so on.
Wu Pei Chi, 375+ days (2019), human hairs and Mrs. Khu (2019), documentary
Evoking the imagination of the life after death, Taiwanese artist Wu Pei Chi looks into the tradition of ghost marriage that once happened in her family while rethinking the system of patriarchy embedded in the custom. The exploration of memories, human behaviour and quotidian details are central to her practice.
Tan Kian Ming
Qiān Zàng (2015), video and The Cemetery (2019), installation
Continuing his long-term tombstone rubbing project using aluminum foil paper, Malaysian-Chinese artist Tan Kian Ming works to (re)construct a fictional cemetery that operates as the medium between the living world and the afterlife, addressing questions of identity and dislocation.