Inspired by a strong and enduring interest in depth psychology, dreams, and the realm of memory, Sawa Hiraki (born 1977 in Ishikawa, Japan, currently based in London) produces videos interweaving the real and fictitious that have been presented at exhibitions around the world. Installation composed of elaborate multi-screen arrangements showing multiple videos offer a mesmerizing visual experience that also makes the viewer conscious of their own physicality, and express rich interior worlds where memory, emotion, and sensation converge.
MAM Collection 017 presents Sawa’s six-channel video installation hako (2007). The title hako, meaning “box,” has its origins in the psychotherapy technique of sand play. In sand play therapy, the patient arranges toys and miniature objects in a sandbox to create a three-dimensional version of the mental state they are unable to express verbally, the aim being to enhance the self-healing powers present in the unconscious. Here videos including image of a room with hints of human presence, a Ferris wheel at the beach, fireworks lighting up the night sky at a harbor, and a shrine sitting deep in a forest are projected on upright screens. Accompanied by a soundtrack that feel at once somehow familiar, images locked away in the depths of people’s memories play in synchronized fashion, merging into a single scene.
MAM Collection 017 presents a version reconfigured to underscore the worldview of the sand play therapy that originally inspired the work. hako is also joined here by a drawing of a dream-eating sheep, and the video work featuring superimposed afterimages of a dancer. The resonance between these different works entices viewers into a landscape where unconscious and conscious, dream and reality intersect.
Sawa Hiraki has exhibited in international exhibitions such as the Biennale of Sydney (2010), Biennale de Lyon (France, 2013), Reborn Art Festival (Miyagi, Japan, 2017), Taiwan International Video Art Exhibition (Taipei, 2020) among others. His museum presentations include the Nam June Paik Art Center (Seoul, 2014), 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Japan, 2018), Vincom Centre for Contemporary Art (Hanoi, 2018) and the University Museum of Navarra (Spain, 2019). In 2016, participated in the exhibition Roppongi Crossing 2016: My Body, Your Voice at the Mori Art Museum.