Culture / Art Republik

Exhibition: (Un)filtered Reflections at Hermès Liat Towers

Noriko Ambe explores the challenges of youth with a new exhibition at Aloft at Hermès

Nov 20, 2017 | By Ilyda Chua

Noriko Ambe, ‘Delia: Biology’

In a new exhibition at Aloft at Hermès, Japanese artist Noriko Ambe examines the struggles of modern-day youth through the lens of her signature paper-cutting projects. Titled ‘(Un)filtered Reflections’, the exhibition sees Ambe using textbooks as her key material, transforming them into distinct book-sculptures.

In a collaboration with junior high school students from Japan and Singapore — both countries that are known for their academically rigorous education system — she engages students to create portraits of themselves through their textbooks, subsequently recreating them through cutting, shredding and folding.

Noriko Ambe, ‘Letters from Music’

“Since 1999, I have been cutting paper and books, altering them to embody the relationship among humans, time and nature,” says the artist. “In this project, using textbooks as the key material, I focused on transforming their meaning in order to express the relationship between the textbooks and the individual students who use them.”

Taking on the role of the listener, Ambe’s works are an expression of the relationships between each student and the unrelenting expectations they are subject to in a society obsessed with academic excellence. Consequently, every piece reflects a distinct voice: for example, in ‘Delia’, the textbook is recreated in almost dizzyingly intricate detail through a variety of paper-cutting techniques, with the diagrams and text in the textbook altered and manipulated to create an effect that is both complex and dynamic. On the other hand, there are pieces such as ‘Burned’, where the textbook is simply charred beyond recognition, with barely any semblance of content or colour — an ominous representation of the darker side of the education system.

Noriko Ambe, ‘Burned’

In a perceptive, empathetic study of the youth and the challenges they face in a technologically advanced, fast-paced society, Ambe invites viewers to consider the position of the youth today, and where they are headed tomorrow. The exhibition will run from 22 November 2017 to 11 February 2018 at Hermès Liat Towers in Singapore.

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