Kien Situ presents a multisensory exhibition titled Rift 隙

10 Jun 2022

The exhibition title combines the English word ‘rift’ with the Chinese character ‘隙’ (Xi), meaning ‘discord’, ‘interval’ or ‘opportunity’. Collectively, they evoke a geographic and cultural fragmentation familiar to Kien Situ’s Chinese-Vietnamese heritage and diasporic upbringing. Rift 隙 converts these fissures into sites of potential and becoming. His immersive exhibition will stimulate the viewer’s senses through visual, audio and scent, bringing the audience on a journey that transcends the earthly and the known.

For Situ’s new suite of works, he collaborates with curator Johanna Bear, graphic designer Zoë James, film director Oliver Rose and sound designer Oskar Wesley-Smith. With a team diverse in their own expertise, they have constructed an ‘Ink Pavilion’ walled with dyed silk, inside lies 64-piece sculptural works that reference the ‘I Ching’ – an ancient Chinese divination text recognized as one of the earliest articulations of the arithmetic binaries crucial to present-day computer coding. Accompanied by a field of sculptural columns, a slow-motion film, and a multi-channel soundscape, the works will explore themes of cultural identity and displacement.

A quintessential material in Situ’s practice is Chinese Mò ink, fusing this pigment with textiles and monolithic forms, which are both dense and light, fixed and mutable, fluid and concrete. The incorporation of ink is foundational to his works as part of a broader investigation into the interrelationships between geography and identity. He uses spatial and material experimentation to reframe understandings of distance and identity, interrogating boundaries between the natural and human-made, artistic and architectural, East and West.

Rift 隙 is on view from now till 2 July 2022 at Tin Sheds gallery, The University of Sydney.

Image: Portrait of Kien Situ with his sculptural installation, Rift 隙, 2022 at Tin Sheds gallery, The University of Sydney.