Steven Dragonn

Sep 25 – Nov 27, 2021

A-MARE to love – to sea 心滙

Why A-MARE? In Italian “amare” is the verb to love, “al mare” means to the sea; ”ma” universally alludes to “mother” and similarly, the Chinese ideogram of “sea” contains the ideogram of “mother”. Kristin Man, whose cognitive process encompasses English, Cantonese and Italian, ponders, “if to go to the sea is to love, then there is really no specific location where we are to love. If to be closer to the sea means to be closer to the source of life, then there is no better reminder of our connectedness than the ocean because of its presence and its fluidity”. Having lived in sea places such as Hong Kong, both sides of the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and travelled through many more and now based in Vancouver, she feels a special affinity towards the ocean overall. Realities have our ocean embody not only some of the deepest pains and pleasures but practicalities that connect us. Through A-MARE, the artist encourages the viewer to ask questions pertinent to their personal and our collective experience of what “to love” may mean— “through my artworks of love and sea shall we meet?”

A-MARE portrays relationships and relational identity with a delicate visual vocabulary. In fact, A-MARE traverses mediums and challenges the limits of how we could think not just about our existence but also about photography. This series contains stories that are personal and universal. The original images have been made around the world with a focus on the seas where Kristin has been.  Afterwhich, they are cut, layered and woven into a different composition and form by hand with a meditative attention inspired by her early photographic dark room experience. The physicality is conveyed because intersecting is an act of meeting and negotiating. Yet, the materiality in turn points towards a transcendental synthesis of what is variegated and what is shared. Concurring with Carl Jung: “The sea is the favourite symbol for the unconscious, the mother of all that lives”, therefore, it is an element of conveyance, a symbol rather than literally the theme. Likewise the locality of the place serves as a backdrop which enhances the subject. In fact, one may get a sense that as soon as a characteristic of a particular place is identified, the line crosses and renegotiates the confines.While A-MARE as a series has been shown in Spain, Italy and Canada, this is the first time where Kristin collaborates with Chimerik 似不像 (as a community partner) on a new media installation piece which allows the audience to play an active part in “weaving” new images through their individual somatics.

Born in Hong Kong, after many projects such as authoring two photography-cum-poetry books in Singapore and Italy, respectively, Kristin Man is now based in Vancouver. She is an interdisciplinary artist who questions borders whether they be of mediums and/or social identities which are limiting the dimensions of our true existence. Kristin holds an IB from United World College of the Atlantic in the UK, a BA from Brown University and an MBA from Columbia University in the US. Her spiritual and philosophical research which is intertwined in her art has led her to becoming a certified yoga teacher. Her cross-sectoral and international experience gives her a different vision of the world which in turn permeates her creativity. 

About the artist
Born in Hong Kong, Kristin Man is an interdisciplinary artist currently living in Vancouver. She holds a BA from Brown University, Rhode Island and an MBA from Columbia University, New York. She attributes the concepts in her art to her experience of attending United World College of the Atlantic which is a microcosm of multiculturalism and social consciousness contributed by students from 70 countries at the time of her attendance. She is mostly recognized as a photographer, but is also a writer, mainly of poetry. She is an author of two photography-cum-poetry books “Fragments of Grey Matter” (Tokyo TDC book prize 2014) and “9_9” (Skira). She draws influence from the human condition, her multi-disciplinary education, her yoga practice (as a certified teacher) and her personal compass which enables her to belong everywhere and nowhere. Kristin focuses on the themes of “connection” and “relational identity”, and encourages the viewers of her work to ask questions on what “being human” might mean. Kristin has exhibited internationally and her work is in the collection of private foundations and individuals. She has presented her work at institutions such as the Museum of Anthropology and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden in Vancouver, the Italian National Archives in Rome, Rizzoli in Milan, the Museum of Contemporary and Modern Art in Naples, and PAN Palazzo delle Arti Napoli. Her works have been featured in the media such as Exibart, Artribune, Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica,  Il Mattino, TV Mattino 9 and the Burnaby Arts Council’s website.

Wind Fire Sea
O(range) Canada

Further Reading:
Vancouver: Trying to see the sea, like fathoming love and the unconscious | Review by Dion Kliner | Nov. 6, 2021