Hiraki Sawa’s videos and installations create powerful psychological situations and articulate an unexpected interweaving of the domestic and the fantastic. Sawa’s works incorporating video, animation and drawing are presented in sophisticated installations to create compelling interior worlds. Populated with animals, animate and inanimate objects and people, his works enact a search for ‘place’ and meditate upon themes of memory and displacement.


Sawa came to international attention early in his career for a series of extraordinary animations, including Dwelling (2002) and Migration (2003), which collapsed jet planes, airports and mass migrations into domestic settings in surreal shifts of scale and thereby produced a powerful uncanny charge. These works announced Sawa’s distinctive dreamlike sensibility.


In more recent works Sawa has explored the phenomenon of amnesia, inspired by a friend who suffered the sudden onset of complete memory loss. Lineament (2012) is a two-channel video installation in which a male protagonist navigates a worn apartment. Like the intricate clock-like mechanisms that appear before and around him, his memories unravel and snap back together. The grooves of an LP record uncoil to become a line and then a drawing. The audio – performed by Dale Berning and Ute Kanngiesser – is a palindrome, played both backwards and forwards on a modified turntable in the gallery space.



Hiraki Sawa (born 1977, Ishikawa, Japan) received his BFA from the University of East London and his MFA from the Slade School of Art at University College, London.  Sawa’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Dundee Contemporary Arts, the Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo, Chisenhale Gallery, London, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne,  Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Saint Louis Art Museum, Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie et Musée du Temps de Besançon with Le Consortium, Dijon.


Sawa has also participated in a number of group exhibitions and international art festivals including the 2013 Biennale de Lyon , the 2010 Sydney Biennale, Asian-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2009, Automatic Cities: The Architectural Imaginary in Contemporary Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, 2009, Yokohama Triennial, 2005, Lyon Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, 2003. In 2002 he won the East International Award, and in 2006 received the Decibel Award for Artists in 2006. In 2011 he was awarded the Gotoh Memorial Prize.


Hiraki Sawa’s works are included in many important public collections internationally, including the Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery, London, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, CAB, Burgos, Spain, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Aichi, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel, and the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia.

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