“(De)Construction of Memory,” by Ung Vai Meng and Chan Hin Io (now grouped together in the YiiMa collective), does not record the memory of linear and chronological time. Nor is it the parading of a memory built on systematised facts that allows us to revisit history in a structured or scientific manner. Rather, it is a way for artists to look freely at the past, comfortably settled in the present.
Like Jorge Luis Borges’ Goofus, that fantastic bird which “builds its nest upside down and flies backwards, not caring where it’s going, only where it’s been,” or where it comes from, this exhibition is a discovery of traces that have been left behind, sometimes forgotten, and that only a retrospective journey allows to be remembered and reinterpreted.
Ung Vai Meng and Chan Hin Io are two artists who, through the YiiMa collective, have taken on the mission of recovering oblivion, brushing away the dust that time has inexorably deposited on the traces of the past. They do so through artistic action, benefiting from a vast knowledge of Eastern and Western history and culture. That is why their work is important and deserves recognition, so as not to lose the richness of the recent or even the distant past.
These two artists have been contributing to the portrayal of Macao’s identity from the (De)Construction of Memory, accepting that multiculturalism is a richness and not an entropy. In this way, they are helping to overcome oblivion and freeing the Goofus bird from its tragic destiny by allowing it to fly “forward,” so that it can reach a place it could never otherwise have aspired to…
João Miguel Barros, exhibition curator
Museu Coleção Berardo
Praça do Império
1449-003 Lisbon, Portugal