The Memories of Tomorrow
"This series focused on how Hollywood cinema from 1950 onwards depicts the “Orient”, particularly in relation to Hong Kong, whilst how this notion and fantasized representations have functioned in the process of identity formation of the depicted cities, regions, and ethnic groups. Based on British novels, films such as The World of Suzie Wong (1960) demonstrate an early yet significant phase of how Hong Kong was interpreted, constructed, and delivered to worldwide audiences. From 1980 onwards, cinematic depictions of the “Orient” are combined with futuristic imagery, starting from the growing influence of cyberpunk and anime culture."
"In the series, I used various materials to generate uncanny scenarios, in an attempt to question these processes of representation formation. While there is often an interrelated yet paradoxical relationship between the spectators and those who are being depicted within this process."
— Lau Wai
“I referenced different elements from iconic Japanese anime characters (popular during the 1980s to 90s) and painted them onto reproduced prints of my own portraits, taken from 1980 to 2007. The reproduced portraits are manipulated in blurred and pixelated conditions. A portrait has always been perceived as the physical description of oneself, and anime characters have grown to have a larger influence on how gender is perceived.”
"Those anime characters have had an influence on how I perceive gender roles during my early years according to personal memories, but the memories are also widely shared by people from my generation in Asia and the generations after decades in different regions in the world. The ever-expanding anime culture has contributed to Asian modernity and globalization after World War II, as well as the development of the generation of people including myself who are largely engaged with virtuality."
— Lau Wai
Profile Picture (Son Goku)
2017, acrylic on archival pigment print, 80 x 59.5 cm
Profile Picture (Sailor Moon)
2017, acrylic on archival pigment print, 120 x 91 cm
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in Hong Kong, Lau Wai currently lives and works in New York and Hong Kong. Her work utilizes photography, video, drawing, and installation exploring the multilateral constructions of identity in relation to race, gender, and the notion of belonging. She attempts to investigate how history, fiction, personal memory, and virtuality collided in the process of identity formation through personal and historical archives, cinematic imagery, popular culture, and digital media.
Her works are in the permanent collections at M+ (Hong Kong); The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (United States), among others. She has exhibited in Europe, Asia, and the United States, including Kunstmuseum Brandts (Denmark); Power Station of Art (Shanghai); Para Site (Hong Kong); Tai Kwun Contemporary (Hong Kong); Kuandu Biennale (Taiwan); Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale (Japan); The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (United States) and Yokohama Triennale 2020 (Japan), among others.