Rome, at Fondazione Memmo the first Italian exhibition of Canadian artist Sin Wai Kin

The Memmo Foundation is hosting the first Italian exhibition of Canadian artist Sin Wai Kin, which revolves around the video "Dreaming the End," a work about the possibility of change to adopt a non-binary consciousness. It is also the first exhibition in Italy for British curator Alessio Antoniolli.

From May 4 to Oct. 29, 2023, the Fondazione Memmo in Rome is hosting the first solo exhibition in Italy by Canadian artist Sin Wai Kin (Victoria Sin; Toronto, 1991). Titled Dreaming the End (“Dreaming the End”), the project revolves around the new video work from which the exhibition takes its name, Dreaming the End entirely shot in Rome. The exhibition, curated by Alessio Antoniolli, constitutes a further chapter in Sin Wai Kin’s research, which reflects on theobjectification of the body and the culture that regulates it through the practice of storytelling, thus questioning the normative processes that govern identity categories and a consciousness of the self based on binarism.

Constantly poised between reality and the dream dimension, Sin Wai Kin’s poetics is the manifesto of a complexity that eschews categories and means of expression: video, performance, and installation are the languages used to give life to works that mix pop references and personal experiences, allowing an indefinable feeling to emerge, suspended between tenderness and melancholy, irony and drama, familiarity and alienation.

The video Dreaming the End is a story that moves between the narrative and the real register, playing with times, spaces, places and references, so as to make everything at once familiar and unfamiliar. Obsessions and contradictions are at the heart of the film, a journey somewhere between dreams and oppressive visions taken by a series of enigmatic figures who intersect in the different scenarios imagined by Sin Wai Kin. The cross-cutting approach of different cinematic genres (thriller, noir, fantasy...), with forays into fashion and other areas of popular culture, contributes to the sense of disorientation in Dreaming the End, which offers the viewer an experience in which points of reference are continually challenged and overturned. It is through this story-a pastiche of genres, styles, and space-time coordinates-that the film asks a question: where does authenticity end and performance begin? Who decides what is fantasy or reality? For Sin Wai Kin, the possibility of change is fundamental: this work, too, is an invitation to adopt a non-binary consciousness, to dissolve the rigidity of certain patterns and let our experiences cause us to evolve.

Characterized by a strongly fictionalized narrative, in Sin Wai Kin’s artistic projects there is a doubling, sometimes a true multiplication of the characters on stage, almost always played by the artist. This is the case in Dreaming the End, an unreleased production entirely conceived for the exhibition at the Fondazione Memmo, where characters meet and move through the narrative space, exchanging and alternating with each other. This cyclical process means that these figures must continually rediscover themselves, becoming aware of themselves in environments and experiences that involve them in a perpetual flux. The fluidity of bodies and perspectives is highlighted by the choice to show the video on a loop, so as to create a story that is told and renewed through repetition, evolving and changing depending on who is telling it and who is listening.

The strong psychological connotation of the characters is fueled by the locations that serve as the backdrop for Dreaming the End. The film can count on fascinating settings, including the interiors of Palazzo Ruspoli, the gardens of Villa Medici and the spaces of the Palace of Italian Civilization: iconic contexts that amplify the sense of wonder in Sin Wai Kin’s work, creating an unprecedented bridge between Rome’s millennial history and the artist’s emphasis on the power of storytelling. Sin Wai Kin’s body, as well as that of the city, are constantly evolving, able to unite past histories and potential futures, crossing different states and phases.

In addition to the film, the spaces of the Memmo Foundation will be populated by the characters of Dreaming the End and their stages of transformation. Busts and wigs will be placed in different spaces, but in dialogue with each other, so as to create a continuous exchange; these elements will be accompanied by a series of make-up wipes with traces of the make-up of the different characters played by Sin Wai Kin: these are to all intents and purposes “shrouds” that become paintings containing landscapes and cosmologies of a changing identity that leaves signs of an endless process.

Sin Wai Kin’s project will also see the realization of a publication in the form of a photostory - following an aesthetic particularly close to Sin Wai Kin’s sensibility - and a series of in-depth activities such as meetings and educational workshops aimed at children: the first scheduled event is Sunday, May 14, with a creative workshop dedicated to the age group of 5 to 11 years old.

Sin Wai Kin used to use speculative fiction within performance, moving images, writing and printmaking to disrupt normative processes of desire, identification and objectification. Drawing on close personal encounters of gaze and desire, her work presents fictional narratives heavily built on the often disturbing experience of the physical within the social body. Sin Wai Kin’s most recent film, A Dream of Wholeness in Parts (2021), was recently nominated for the Turner Prize and screened at the British Film Institute’s 65th London Film Festival. The work is currently included in the traveling exhibition British Art Show 9 and in Protozone at Shedhalle Zurich and HYPER-POSSIBLE: Coventry Biennial 2021, Coventry.

The exhibition Dreaming the End also represents the Italian debut of curator Alessio Antoniolli (who, despite his Italian name, is of English nationality), who with this exhibition inaugurates a new course for the Foundation. Alessio Antoniolli, born in 1970, trained at the University of London and is director of Gasworks, London, where he directs a program of exhibitions, artist residencies and participatory projects. He is also director of Triangle Network, a worldwide network of visual art organizations that collaborate to create exchanges between artists and share mutual knowledge. He has lectured extensively and served on many juries, including that of the UK’s Turner Prize in 2019. In 2022, he was appointed curator of the Memmo Foundation, where he will curate the annual program of solo exhibitions. This is the first exhibition Antoniolli is curating in Italy.

The exhibition opens Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Tuesdays. Free admission. For info:

Rome, at Fondazione Memmo the first Italian exhibition of Canadian artist Sin Wai Kin
Rome, at Fondazione Memmo the first Italian exhibition of Canadian artist Sin Wai Kin

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