Birch Contemporary

Ed Pien: Memento

We are delighted to present the first Toronto exhibition of Ed Pien’s major walk-through installation Memento (2009).

Memento is a contemplation of the human condition: how we act and react to the inescapable forces that shape us. The installation was developed out of research into the plight of illegal immigrants who often take great risks in the hope of reaching a safer and more stable environment in which to live and grow, a subject that given the current mass immigration crisis from Syria and North Africa is increasingly urgent today.

Memento takes the form of an immersive installation consisting of ropes, cut silhouettes, sound and video. The hand-tied configuration central to the work alludes to fishing nets, traps, security fences, temporary shelters and engulfing waves. The network of patterns is also reminiscent of the human circulatory system, passageways and maps. Memento is a continuation of Pien's ongoing interest in the otherworldly, invisibility, disappearance, and journeys. It poignantly reflects on the displaced, forgotten and unseen yet remains poetically open-ended, embracing multiple interpretations.

Memento was commissioned by The Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, England. Special thanks go to The Chinese Arts Centre; Ying Kwok, Memento curator; Robert Birch, Birch Contemporary; Johannes Zits (video); Joel Thomson (sound); Nicole Vogelzang; Srimoyee Mitra; Heidrun Gabel-Koepff; Polina Teif; John Eisler; Kerry Reid; Amy Jenine Wong; Canada Council; Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council