A Momentary Glimpse of Absolute Contentedness
J.J. Chan

17th July - 13th September 2019

Images | Text

J.J. Chan’s exhibition at Lily Brooke began as an attempt to consider contentedness, which through the process of making revealed itself in the shadows and often in time spent staring blankly at the sunlight on the floor. 

In the gallery, Chan presents a series of small assemblages formed from collected objects and stolen stories. The work acts as a retrospective of moments remembered, employing these collected objects as props in a story-telling, confessional show and tell. Through a code breakers algorithm, the work Congratulations - 恭喜你 , is a device that shares a certain joy with strangers. It silently reads the electromagnetic noise from around the room translating it into eleven-digit numbers which always begin with 07. It proceeds to send a text message to each mobile number generated with the message; “I have just won the lottery. Love J x”. The responses received are slowly written automatically across the blank innards of celebratory greetings card, only to be flicked out onto the floor for visitors to take home.

Elsewhere, rotating in sporadic episodes, discarded fragments of a teenage promise refract and realign across a rectangular mirror that sits at right angles to a maze of geometric forms. Trivial Matter - 濕濕碎 reveals at moments, the broken biro message on the back of a postcard offering up an imagined dinner for two.

Alongside these works Johnny Golding presents an essay in the viewing room, entitled Grey : Matter, drawing on a memory of a lullaby shared with her mother. The essay’s quietness beats slowly against each object in the preceding room, which grow heavy, cast under a new tone. Walking between the two spaces the motion of electronic devices interrupts the electromagnetic noise which holds traces of the past.

The replay of a moment can recur over and over, long after that initial encounter, long after it is reconfigured as memory. 

J.J. Chan is a London based artist. J.J.’s work draws from lived experience, collected charity shop hauls, and stories stolen from eavesdropped conversations on the train and at the bus stop. At the foundations of the work is an investigation of portraiture and self-portraiture, the authentic and the imaginary, and the boundaries of fictions and realities. It is through practice that they attempt to locate themselves in the world. Their work has recently been exhibited at FOLD, London, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, and Cité Internationale Des Arts, Paris. J.J. is a graduate of the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts, and the Royal College of Art, and is currently a Visiting Lecturer at The University for the Creative Arts in Farnham.