09 Jul 2022

Dawn Ng explores the passage of time through colour at a Marylebone chapel

By Betty Wood

‘How long is now? What is a minute, a day, a month, a year,’ asks Singaporean artist Dawn Ng. Her colourful debut London show, Into Air, unpicks this existential question by documenting the lifecycle of giant, frozen blocks of pigment – creating a new visual language for the passage of time in the process.

Into Air is presented by gallery Sullivan+Strumpf within the minimalist, neo-gothic interior of St Cyprian’s Church in Marylebone. The expansive show brings together an assemblage of photographs, time-lapses and paintings produced by Ng over the last three years, including the creation of 100 glacial blocks of pigments.

Behind the scenes of Into Air. Photography courtesy Dawn Ng Studio

Each block (or ’Clock’, as Ng calls them, because their melting colour profile points to a specific moment in time, like the hands on an analogue dial) weighed approximately 60kg and took around three weeks to create inside an industrial freezer in her studio. Ng and her team meticulously photographed and recorded their changing state as the Clocks moved from solid to a melted residue, used in a series of ethereal, paper-based paintings.

‘Ice is a perfect material because it cannot last,’ explains Ng in a short film about the series (watch below). ‘Its metamorphosis from solid, liquid to the air reflects the passage of time. That journey of chasing time from one state to the next has crystallised in a rather expansive body of work that includes photographs, time-lapse and residue paintings.’

Into Air is Dawn Ng’s debut London solo show, installed at St Cyprian’s in Marylebone. Photography: James Retief

Into Air is imbued with atmospheric charge thanks to its site-specific staging, and St Cyprian’s pews inspire the wooden structures that house Ng’s larger-than-life photographic works. Most influential of all, however, is the ambience of the chapel, which encourages quiet contemplation and echoes the theme of the works, which Ng likens to ‘chasing a ghost’.

‘No one can truly stop time, or bend or catch it,’ she says. ‘But I think I tried. That is why I consider Into Air a work of memory, and an acceptance of transience. Most important, I think it’s an ode to the truth the most beautiful things in the world are the ones we can never hold onto, no matter how hard we try.’

‘Into Air by Dawn Ng’ is curated by Jenn Ellis and designed in collaboration with APSARA Studio. It runs until 23 July 2022 at St Cyprian’s Church, Marylebone, Glentworth Street, London, NW1 6AX.

Link to the original article.