Hugo Harris and Hannah Lim
My work develops in response to my cultural identity and experience. As a person of mixed Singaporean and British heritage both my research and practice has come to engage with the colonial connotations of the relationship between the East and the West. These connotations are most evident in themes such as Orientalism and its relationship to Chinoiserie; an 18th century aesthetic trend in which elements of Chinese design were recreated in relation to European aesthetics and tastes. I attempt to re-imagine and reclaim ideas and designs associated with the Chinoiserie, which have in the past had problematic colonial undertones. Cultural designs are shared as opposed to appropriated, it is no longer about one culture being moulded to the demands of another.
I create furniture-like structures that are ornamental but also functional. These are usually flat-packable and when assembled are often anthropomorphic in stature and shape. These objects are culturally coded, they reference an aesthetic trend that saw the appropriation of Chinese design as a result of Britain's colonial conquests however they are also playful and peculiar, their creature- like bodies depict them as having a life of their own.
For the last two years, my practice has involved a continual exploration into the ways of depicting the weight of the human body. In particular, how the subtle alteration of pose and position can manipulate and displace parts of our muscle and flesh. Focusing on parts of the body that display this pressure or movement of mass has resulted in a series of fragmented figures.
These fragments record an action, a physical modification that is accentuated by the figure’s incomplete form. Isolating these elements draws attention to the way living flesh reacts when interacting with a solid object. The body’s form is forced to give, and it is this activity and surface tension that I wish to exhibit in my work.