When I am Among Trees

When I am among trees (2019)
Single channel video

When I am among trees references the title of a Mary Oliver poem. In the poem she speaks of the joy to be with trees and the call to ‘stay awhile’ amongst them. The work was filmed in front of a white backdrop placed under some trees, in hopes of catching a leaf in the midst of falling. The work serves as a meditation, focused upon a single act of looking and the mindful attention required to notice its fall. In ten minutes, four leaves fall.

Untitled Drawings

Untitled Drawings (2019)
Archival Inkjet Print
14.8 by 21cm

A mark has no time

    no name

no start

                    no end

      no grids

no understanding of itself

        no expectations

no preoccupation

  no stress

no need for any value

        no subject

        no object

no requirement of grace

Untitled drawings is a series of images of marks left behind in urban spaces.

Built on the Ashes


In August 2013, the National Environment Agency announced plans for the relocation of the urns at Mount Vernon Columbarium to make way for the development of Bidadari Estate. The scarcity of land space in Singapore demands that we manage the use of it. If the urns are not claimed after 3 years, NEA will scatter the ashes at sea.

Round and round I go, up the pagoda, circumambulating. I follow the drops of hardened red wax. 6. I catch up to the sky. 7. I no longer see the roofs. 8. I am above the tree and I see the land below me. The tree whispers to me the promises of the dead. I am space. And all around the ashes of tomorrow.

Even in death we struggle to find space

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Bury Me Below A Mountain

Bury me below a mountain (2017)
Archival Inkjet Print
100 by 150cm
Edition of 3

Do not cage me in concrete
for I have not lived.
Bury me below a mountain
so that I may yet.

The Naxi ethnic minority believe in living harmoniously with nature. Following tradition, this relationship can be seen in their burial custom. On Yuan Bao Mountain, overlooking the Lijiang basin, lies a grave site where the Naxi people bury their dead. Scattered along the mountain are many unmarked graves that have plant life growing on and around them. With the passage of time, these unmarked graves eventually return to nature, leaving only traces of its previous existence.



Between Bridges

Between Bridges (2017)
Three-channel video
5 mins 11 secs

Nestled between the colonial Long Bien bridge and the modern Chuong Duong bridge, an anabranch diverts from the Red River. Between Bridges looks at Vietnam and its modernisation and how its citizens welcome the present but live in the past. The observation of the activities along the anabranch reveal a slower pace of life as the world endlessly streams past.

The river bed listens,
between two bridges,
the past rumbling along,
and the future rushing by.

It listens,
when the sun sets,
to the hundreds of birds
drowning the honks of Hanoi.

Between Bridges by Ernest Wu on Vimeo.

Black Boxes

Black Boxes (2016)
Archival Inkjet Print on Ilford Galerie Smooth Cotton Rag
100 by 150cm
Edition of 3 + 2AP

It towers above. 9, 10, 24 stories up. It is not land that touches the sky; it is concrete that cuts the horizon. It is lives stacked, one on top of the other, row after row after row. And all I see are black boxes. Black on white on black.

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Onward (2015)
Archival Inkjet Print on watercolour paper
29.7 by 42 cm
Edition of 3

It is dusk. In my mind, a humdrum of ideas. I cannot see its end. The landscape has always been a treadmill and I, in the train cabin, have always been unmoving. Unchanging. I am here. I am here. A lamp post goes by. A building. A tree. I think about change. The landscape changes. There used to be a hill. It used to be a field. There used to be forest. Now it is a HDB. Now it is a condominium. I think about paintings. Brush strokes. Thin lines. Thick lines. Broad sweeping strokes. Careful line accents. Harsh harsh. I think about light. The lights turn on. They turn off. Change, light, paint. Can I paint with my camera? I am unmoving. I am here. The landscape is a treadmill. The landscape paints itself. Click. The train drags my camera. The landscape wants to be painted. The shutter closes. Barely a whisper. No one notices. Click. The landscape drags itself past. Present. Past. It is. And then no more. Nothing stays for too long. The landscape is there. Not quite. It is painted. Not quite. The landscape has changed. The landscape changes. The landscape will change.