Hiraki Sawa was born in 1977 in Ishikawa, Japan, and currently lives and works in London. Sawa’s videos explore psychological landscapes, unexpected worlds, and the interweaving of domestic and imaginary spaces. Populated with animals, inanimate objects, and people, his characters search for their “place” in the universe as he explores ideas of memory, displacement, and migration. As he has lived between London and Japan for many years, cultural mobility has become a key reference in his narrative sequences describing journeys into real, subconscious, or imagined worlds. In recent years, Sawa’s practice has expanded into elaborate multiscreen installations, enabling him to explore multiple narratives and perspectives simultaneously. Whether zooming in to microscopic details in a single work or zooming out to the monolithic effort of a career, Sawa’s overall enterprise coheres both formally and thematically. Looping, meditative acts of repetition, patience, and close observation are, for him, essential tools for understanding how memory works.
Sawa has exhibited extensively, including solo exhibitions at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (2014), Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2013), Kanagawa Prefectural Gallery, Japan (2012), the Kresge Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing (2011), Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’archéologie de Besançon, France (2010), Yu-un, Tokyo (2009), the Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee (2008), Chisenhale Gallery, London (2007), Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville (2007), Wexner Art Center, Columbus, Ohio (2006), the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2006), the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC (2005), the St. Louis Art Museum (2005), and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2005), among others. Sawa has also participated in group exhibitions and international art festivals at the National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan (2013), the Biennale de Lyon, France (2013 and 2003), Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan (2013 and 2009), the Biennale of Sydney (2010), the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2009), the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2009), the Busan Biennale, South Korea (2008), the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2008), and the Yokohama Triennale, Japan (2005), among many others.