Sarah Lai: Pure Heart Shopping Street

Pure Heart Shopping Street is a solo exhibition by the Hong Kong artist Sarah Lai, which presents a new installation that unfolds into a series of lightboxes, videos, paintings, and objects from other sources that place themselves in fictional settings of Japanese shopping streets of the late 80s and early 90s.

The artist is interested in the emotional responses generated by visual language, and she draws her visual references from old-fashioned archives of mass media on the internet, carrying the power of emotion, imagination, and sheer nostalgia for simpler times past. In a chaotic digital age in which our image-addicted relationships are overly enriched, she creates rare moments and expansive spaces to meet images in new perspectives through the possibilities of figurative painting installations. Artistic gestures can so subtly alter and alter our relationship to images and their making, and thus our relationship to the world.

Pure Heart Shopping Street is a continuation of the artist's practice of appropriation, aestheticization, and reactivation of contemporary visual culture. The artist carefully selects and arranges ready-made images, facsimiles, props, interior design, and architectural forms to reproduce the impression of the scene with a minimum of visual elements. With Japanese pop and material culture all the rage in Asia's emerging economies, the artist saw the material as a formative influence and ingrained memory during her teenage years growing up in Hong Kong. Over-aware of its substitutable subjectivity, the project is entirely an expression of deliberate performance, an abstraction of an unreal abstraction.

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