Kai and Sunny Grapple with Time in Solo Show
It’s impossible to imagine our world without time. Every moment is measured in passing against the moments before and after it. As each second is marked, it’s gone forever and it’s up to us to decide whether we’ll love, hate, or miss each minute. No matter how we feel about retired moments, or about the function of time specifically, it will continue to pass. Tomorrow will come, and then the next day, and the next. Time will ravage us all as we march towards the future and eventually find an end. This can be terrifying or liberating but it is a truth that can never be ignored and one that Kai & Sunny engage directly in their work. The London based creative duo have been enamored with the idea of time for quite a while and is integral to their latest solo show in London. “It’s a theme that’s always run through our work, we’ve always named our work things to do with time, really,” says Kai. “It’s just a theme we’re running with. It’s for the viewer to decide how they want to take it.” This show, called ‘Whirlwind of Time’ is their latest attempt to grapple with these issues, and invites viewers to grapple with it themselves.
Perhaps, Kai concedes, the subconscious pull towards the theme of time has something to do with their creative process. When they create these large pieces, they’re the result of hundreds of lines from ballpoint pens. The micro width of each line means that building a final composition takes an incredible amount of time. “There’s a slow process,” says Kai. “A very methodic, slow process in our work and maybe that’s lead into the theme somehow. But it’s definitely not overt.” It’s definitely not a purposefully drawn parallel, but each piece inherently represents a sort of crystallization of time. In both form and theme, time is in the foundation of each image.
The process also creates a tension inside each composition. The fine lines and solid colors are applied thin line by thin line, building their delicate natures on top of one another resulting in a wallop of form and color. Those two forces pull against one another, something that the artists really enjoy about the final products. “They’re quite intense, quite powerful images, but also very fragile so I quite like that idea of our images having strength but also fragile,” explains Kai. “That lends itself into the passage of time, into the journey of life and all of those things. That’s how I would best describe it.” Like measuring time, each second feels feeble, but stacked on top of one another they become years and a powerful measurement of each of our lives.
Kai & Sunny's ‘Whirlwind of Time’ is open now at StolenSpace Gallery in London until April 3. In addition to the show, there is also a collection of skateboards by skate company Element available for purchase that features Kai & Sunny’s work.