Rapport, empathy, chemistry, accord, harmony—as designations of relational proximities, affinities can suddenly appear far or near when they turn up in an atlas that places them in relation with one another. The exhibition Atlas of Affinities: Vol. 1, The Far-Near tracks trajectories to, from, and outside the landmass and cultural concept known as Asia, inviting artists to consider and showcase their varying affinities to the concept in the gallery-turned-into-forum.
One’s physical and metaphysical relations to their environment mark another point of departure. For three thick echoes (2022), Christine Sun Kim hatches three square paper pieces with charcoal lines, leaving behind crevice-like negative spaces that each squeeze “HAND” and “PALM” in next to each other. Echoing one’s gaze, a crisp clapping sound—or perhaps three—crosses the mind to bring forth a synesthetic moment.
When we place subjects and objects together in a field such as a gallery space, the fact that many of the agents are—through their installation strategies—mirroring this setup communicates a keen sense of self-awareness. This awareness of the self, particularly that of its spatial presence, both socially and individually speaking, probes in our context what comprises “Asia” and other geographical concepts, and it determines each work’s varying affinity to the concepts. Atlas of Affinities still has blank pages, and how those remaining charts shall be drawn depends on the affinities we are willing to identify.