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Sin Wai Kin, "Change", 2023. Collection Mudam Luxembourg. Donation 2023 – Baloise. Installation view at Art Basel 2023, "Statements" © Sin Wai Kin and Soft Opening, London. Photography by Mark Blower
Sin Wai Kin

Portraits

The exhibition Portraits transforms the Foyer into a space for the exploration of possibilities of storytelling, and of perceived notions of reality. Enclosed within the white curtained structure are five moving-image artworks from the series Portraits (2023) by artist Sin Wai Kin (b. 1991, Toronto). Hanging like in a traditional painting gallery, they expand on the art historical pictorial tradition of the portrait through the chosen medium and their protagonists. Sin’s practice, which includes performance, moving images, writing and print, uses speculative fiction to dissolve assumptions around objective truths and reality. The artist seeks to surpass gendered and normative approaches to identity, drawing attention to the construction of the physical body within the social body, meaning the representations, uses, habits and desires of bodies in society. Playing in a continuous loop on the screens, the characters that Sin personifies in this specific series reference a range of iconic artworks and literary stories, spanning across centuries and geographies, to explore impermanent identities and realities. The embodiment of fantasy is central in their practice, wherein the external appearance of Sin’s figures, and the worlds they inhabit, are shaped by a myriad of sources, among which traditional Chinese dramaturgy, drag and science fiction.

Transformation, subjective reality, and the existence of other realities – which the artist invites viewers to ponder often through the state of dreaming – are all themes which hold a significant place in Sin’s works. The chroma-green colour spreading across the floor’s surface, the same hue used in filmmaking for altering surroundings and contexts through post-production techniques, encouragesvisitors to reflect on the possibilities of our own ongoing transformations, and what they might reveal to us. In their almost imperceptible movements, Sin’s living portraits push the limits of the pictorial tradition, and the subject’s capacity of displaying an awareness of the viewer’s gaze, sometimes powerfully holding it. The faceless bust, with a character’s wig outside the boundaries of the video does not idly stand by to act as sculpture: it jolts the characters into our reality, remaining afar, existing somewhere beyond the frame, welcoming us into their world of new possibilities.

Sin Wai Kin is the recipient of the 24th Baloise Art Prize. Founded in 1999, the prize is awarded annually at Art Basel to two artists exhibiting within the Statements section of the fair. The Baloise Art Prize has focused its support on young artists reserving a part of the award to acquire and donate one or an ensemble of works by the artists to two of the partner museums. Mudam Luxembourg has been one of the partner museums for the Baloise Art Prize since 2015, and through this partnership, four of the works on display will join Mudam’s growing collection.

Biography
Sin Wai Kin (b. 1991, Toronto) has held solo exhibitions and performances at Fondazione Memmo, Rome (2023); Somerset House, London (2022); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2022); Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2020) and Taipei Contemporary Art Centre, Taipei (2018). Their work has been presented within significant group surveys, including at the Doosan Art Center, Seoul (2022); Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2022); ICA, Los Angeles (2022); Shedhalle, Zurich (2021); Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai (2021) and Hayward Gallery, London (2019). Their work is held in several major collections, including those of the British Museum - Prints and Drawings Department, London; Buffalo AKG Art Museum, New York and M+ Museum, Hong Kong. Sin Wai Kin lives and works in London.

Credits

Location:
Mudam Foyer
Curators:
  • Marie-Noëlle Farcy, assisted by Carlotta Pierleoni

Baloise Art Prize 2023:
  • The Baloise Art Prize is awarded annually at Art Basel to two artists exhibiting within the Statements section of the fair. Founded in 1999, the prize has focused its support on young artists reserving a part of the award to acquire and donate one or an ensemble of works by the artists to two of the partner museums. Mudam Luxembourg has been one of the partner museums for the Baloise Group Prize since 2015.

2023 Baloise Art Prize