Mur Nomade

Sojourn with Stranger

art book

Curated by Hilda Chan

Lau Wai, photography
Beatrix Pang, book design
Percy So, book binding
Wawa, poetry

The book and the related project documentation are on view until 24th December.

Mur Nomade is excited to unveil the winning project of the second edition of its Open Call for Young Curators: Sojourn with Stranger, a limited-edition art book curated by Hilda Chan. With contributions by Lau Wai, Beatrix Pang, Percy So and Wawa (Lo Mei Wa), the book will be launched at Mur Nomade on Saturday, 3rd December, and will be exhibited to the public until 24th December 2016.

Hong Kong-based curator Hilda Chan (born 1983) is interested in cross-disciplinary collaborations and interpretations of images in relation to personal experiences and memories. Her curatorial project Sojourn with Stranger is the embodiment of a dialogue between five female art practitioners: a curator, a photographer, a book designer, a book artist and a poet. It explores through the form of a book the concept of home in modern society.

Inspired by Nagasaki (2010), a novel by French writer Eric Faye, addressing issues of space ownership, isolation and lack of privacy in modern societies, Hilda Chan selected an image from Lau Wai’s ongoing photographic series Here capturing the artist’s home space and details of family pictures, and used it to construct a structural space within a book. The atmosphere of Lau’s work reminded Chan of the layers of memories and secrets of Eric Faye’s characters that unfold within a common domestic space in Nagasaki.

The reading experience of Sojourn with Stranger was key to Chan’s approach to curating this project. She aimed at creating a feeling of being an intimate observer through a format that evoked a free wandering, room after room, within an unknown interior space. In the book, glimpses of life that are commonly found behind closed doors and within drawers are slowly revealed to the reader. At Mur Nomade, Chan created a display for the book that eloquently renders this process of unfolding of space, and her conception of home as both a functional setting and an organic body of personal memories.

In Chan’s words: “It is the portable and enclosed nature of a book format that allows the viewer to imagine and reconstruct the character’s identities, history and the chronicle order of events, and becomes the observer of a stranger’s life, much like the homeless woman’s non-existing right of being in Nagasaki, where she secretly lives within and observes from a stranger’s wardrobe.”

In Sojourn with Stranger art book, phrases from “Anna and Anna”, a farewell poem Wawa wrote before migrating from Hong Kong to the U.S.A. adds a discreet voice narrating personal thoughts about home and memory. Book designer Beatrix Pang, with her strong interest in exploring narratives and contradictions happening within various spatial and human conditions, re-interpreted Lau Wai’s image complementing Wawa’s words, and conceived an elaborate book format allowing a free and multi-fold reading experience. Moreover, with a passion for paper, great care for the choices of materials and an uncompromising attention to details, book artist Percy So hand-made and bound each copy of the edition to create ten exquisite examples of craftsmanship.

As Chan’s puts it, the project “celebrates the craftsmanship and skills of fine binding and artist book making, a practice that is easily overlooked in the modern era where a book is often seen as a mass-produced object.”

Sojourn with Stranger is an inspiring collaborative art project, inviting art and book lovers to a poetic experience. It will leave the reader and visitors of the exhibition pondering Gaston Bachelard’s statement in defense of daydreaming from The Poetics of Space - a book of particular influence over Hilda Chan’s curatorial practice: “And the daydream deepens to the point where an immemorial domain opens up for the dreamer of a beyond man’s earliest memory” (Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, Beacon Press, 1969, p. 5)

Mur Nomade would like to express its sincere gratitude to the members in the judging panel of the 2016 Open Call for Young Curators for the support, time and guidance they offered throughout the project: Ingrid Chu, Public Programmes Curator at Asia Art Archive; Yeung Yang, art writer and curator; and Yung Sau Mui, Programme Director of the Hong Kong Open Printshop.

Dates: 3 - 24 December 2016

Venue: Mur Nomade




Press release

The envelope cover is made of wallpaper.

Sojourn with Stranger

Title page of Sojourn with Stranger

Sojourn with Stranger

View of Sojourn with Stranger collaborative artists' book

Sojourn with Stranger

Folded photograph, map-folding technique, detail of "Parents' Bedroom" (2012), from "Here" series

Sojourn with Stranger

Scanned and letterpress printed of the handwriting poem

Sojourn with Stranger