Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw

What time has left

Wschód, Warsaw
27 November, 2021 - 12 February, 2022

We are pleased to cordially invite you to the solo exhibition of Canadian-born, Berlin-based artist Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw titled ‘What time has left’, which is to open on Saturday, November 27, 2021.

In Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw’s sculptures and installations, built environments, machines and domestic articles are modelled and reproduced as a means to explore cultures of commemoration. Borrowing techniques derived from sceneographic and museological presentation (how objects and settings are staged for both fictive and historical purposes), the artist alienates his subjects from their utilitarian capacities. Rather, the doorways, windows, postboxes, basins and other such features of civic life which feature in the work, become memory evoking models for outmoded, unnoticed and suppressed facets of the places we inhabit. These architectural motifs become a means to chart social and domestic spaces as sites of fugitive activity.


The words keep on pacing. Prodding right past themselves, they orbit the block with elbows taut. From down here their movements appear synchronistic, but from the sixth floor it’s clear that each body arbitrarily swivels in coil-like formation. Preordained routes entwine, and through squinting eyes, their contours look something like the cloverleaf curls of highway exits. One splits from the pack and wheels out into traffic.

Where this tower ends, another begins – just membranes of crumbling grout bridging one century to the next. As a patchwork of extruded junctions and timelines, they all turn inwards – creating a chamber for echoes and hums. With the help of windows, slabs and tiles, their declarations sound back with varying emphasis. Mantras bounce on the hour, the half, the quarter and so on. As the pulse dampens, clatter slips undetected past eardrums– nesting in the minds of unwitting neighbours.

I’m standing at ground level, watching sounds ricochet back and fourth between the encircling walls and passing wagons. Pale noise ambles up stairwells, down halls and in all eventualities – envelopes the realms of sleepers. Even the resting hours, from which the clutter of daily life is cleaned and compartmentalized, are they themselves contaminated by the debris that comes in with the draught. Like ventilation systems made from skin and bone, unconscious bodies help to keep the air in motion.

Spanning the fissure between two properties, a swathe of knitted steel demarks the infill. It’s lacquered arms reach wide in attempts to grasp – but the trellis, and all of its holes, fail to capture a single utterance. Filtered into indistinct phonetic specks, they sift through the framework and towards the skyline like a swarm of insects. The entire cloud abuzz, they take their voices elsewhere.

Only wasteland trickles beyond the grate – a dumping ground of sorts. Antiquated things and opinions, that at one point harnessed meaning, lay strewn all around. A hardcover journal has gone soft; it’s sodden partitions all bent up and bloated. It’s difficult to sound out the words, as the ink from individual letters has haemorrhaged into one amorphous stain.

Children from the neighbouring buildings like to rummage here, cobbling together fragments of civil refuse. Modelling totems and shelters, they dream up structures that better characterize their concerns than those from which they’ve ambled. The vibrating cloud hovers amidst their camps, but the new society builders hardly take notice as they’re too entrenched in their own projections.

Like a dissolute train of thought, the big blur continues to chug along through the working hours. Overtime on weekends. Again and again, the same bends are stumbled upon until the ties that bind grow shaky and signal for their repair. In time, trampled sprouts have the tendency to grow tired also – surrendering themselves to newfound pathways.

Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw


Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw (b. 1987, CA) – lives and works in Berlin. He attended Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm and Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. He is currently completing the Berlin Program for Artists. Selected solo exhibitions include Can there be Forgiveness? at Ashley, Berlin, 2018, F-150 at Polansky, Prague (2018); Benevolent Nerves at Galerija 427, Riga (2018); and Vinegar Stone & the Language of Flowers at Towards, Toronto (2017). Selected group exhibitions include: BPA//Exhibition, KW Berlin (2021); Friend of a Friend at Galeria Wschód with Emanuel Layr, Warsaw (2021); Condo at Union Pacific with Wschód and Et. Al, London (2020); But Doctor, I am Pagliacci at The Loon, Toronto (2019), Clerks’ Quarters at KW Institute’s Bobs Pogobar, Berlin (2018); At the End of the Game You will be Forgotten at Alyssa Davis Gallery, New York, (2018); Jugend ist Trunkenheit Ohne Wein at Bikini Space, Basel (2018) and Peach at W139, Amsterdam (2016).