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Aloft at Hermès Presents (Un)filtered Reflections by Noriko Ambe

Through her meticulous practice of paper-cutting, Japanese artist Noriko Ambe holds a mirror up to the youth of today.
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In a time when the ways of millennials are ceaselessly nitpicked over, the generation that succeeds them is generally kept out of the spotlight.

However, in a move as unconventional as her practice, New York-based artist Noriko Ambe has made these very fledglings the focus of her latest exhibition.

Presented at Aloft at Hermès, (Un)filtered Reflections is the fruit of a collaboration that blossomed between Ambe and the 15-year-old students of School of the Arts, Singapore (SOTA) and Furukawa Junior High School in Japan.

The thread that ties the two schools together are their respective countries’ education systems: both are competitive, highly demanding and situated in the epicentre of rapid technological advancement.  

For the project, Ambe played a role that was mostly mediative. The Japanese artist tasked her subjects to contemplate their relationship with the textbook – the quintessential symbol of education.

Ambe then interpreted their responses through the meticulous art of paper-cutting, a craft that she has honed since 1999. With a sharp blade and an eagle eye, Ambe transformed each textbook into a unique portrait of their owners. As per the students’ requests, the textbooks were burnt, shredded, soaked and cut — but the resulting paper sculptures are nothing short of stunning.

“It was fascinating to communicate with them and to try to understand the present situation in these countries. I wanted to connect with younger teens and their inner voices somehow.” — Noriko Ambe

(Un)filtered Reflections serves as a testament to Ambe’s mastery of her chosen medium, evident in every precise crease, fold and strip of paper. More importantly, the exhibition offers a rare glimpse at the emotional state of the youth, inviting visitors to ruminate over the path of future generations: What are they asking for? Where are they headed?

(Un)filtered Reflections by Noriko Ambe will run until 11 February 2018 at Aloft at Hermès, 541 Orchard Road, Liat Towers,10.30 am to 8 pm daily. Admission is free.

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