Constable at home (2020)
Kenna Lau's practice considers ideas such as memories, time/moments and repetition - and the relationship between them, ideas such as the consciousness, Lau's work presents the possibilities of what will happen if one of them is removed. By creating works with mind-games, repetition, telling lies, she introduces confusion and presents the absurdity, ambiguity and impossibility in how we understand time. She invites viewers to reconsider or look into the process of remembering, or the flaws in our understanding of time. How do we understand the now, past and the future, if our memory is not reliable? If memory is not reliable, how are we understanding the now?
“I used to spend an hour or two sitting in front of The Hay Wain painted by John Constable in The National Gallery. It is sentimental and perhaps an intimate experience. I always feel the loneliness, the isolation, the nostalgia, the stillness and the suspension of time when I am communicating with this painting. This then made me ask ‘but how is this conversation built up?’ ‘How is time and space contributing to this conversation? ‘Am I looking at the painting people are seeing hundreds of years ago? But through the passage of time, the painting gets restored again and again, perhaps the paint changes colour because of time…..time and space is constantly shifting……..it is perhaps a new painting every second…….where am I getting this sense of history? What am I allowed to feel looking at it?’
It is still unknown when I can sit in front of this painting again.”
The artists sense of nostalgia and philosophy have come to fruition by trying to answer them during such uncertain times. By printing out the image that moved her and in its lower form, in isolation and sellotaped to the wall, the artist is not only asking if we can go back in time but also wether or how much ‘going back’ is represented by our own desires.
(Central Saint Martins, London, 4D & Hong Kong)