GALLERY ETHER is thrilled to announce Memory is a Garden, a new solo-exhibition and immersive installation experience by 2022 Tama Art University graduate and Art Award Tokyo Marunouchi 2022 recipient Nelson Hor, to be held from Saturday, December 3rd through Friday, December 30th.

Tokyo based Malaysian artist Nelson Hor (born 1998, Penang) has explored a variety of mediums in order to find the perfect tools for expressing his voice as an artist, ultimately settling on mineral pigments. Believing that these pigments are like a primal link between humanity and nature, as ancient people used them to paint murals to convey messages and record incidents throughout time, he seeks to use them to document issues related to modern society, such as mental health and discrimination against LGBTQ people.

In Memory is a Garden, Hor expands on the Japanese idiom “not seeing is a flower”, which is used to express the sentiment that because what is real can never be as good as what is imagined, prospect is often better than possession. However, it’s only through the possession of experience and memory that we are able to cobble information and evidence together into prospects and predictions for the future. Memory, as a way of reliving past experiences and creating our sense of time and space, is rather unreliable. It is often warped, manipulated, or simply fabricated by our emotions, traumatic experiences, and other factors. Hor finds himself fascinated by the idea that our existence as humans is built on these inaccurate and flexible memories. In this exhibition he presents us with a body of work within the context of a fully immersive installation, creating a space for viewers to experience how external factors can easily alter our memories, and demonstrating how parts of our brain communicate with each other as if in a room where sounds are constantly coming from other corners of the house. If not seeing is a flower, memory is a garden.


Nelson Hor

Nelson Hor Ee Herng (born 1998, Penang) is a Malaysian Chinese artist currently practicing in Tokyo. Hor graduated with a BA in fine arts from Tama Art University in 2022. In his college years, Hor explored all kinds of mediums to find the perfect tools to express his voice as an artist. 

He uses mineral pigments and believes they are like a primal link between humanity and nature as the ancient people used mineral pigments to paint murals to convey messages and record incidents of the time. Hor thinks it would be interesting to use this medium as a tool to document issues related to our modern society, such as depression and discrimination against LGBTQ people. 

In his graduation piece, Hor decided to use letters, or more specifically, envelopes to represent his voice. An envelope is a transportation of words but it’s also very personal and intimate, it has to be unfolded and peeked into to get the message.

Hor believes that art is uniquely positioned to move people―inspiring people, inciting new questions and provoking curiosity, excitement and outrage. Therefore, he purposely exposes the “personal” contents and allows people to peep at them. Hor sees his work as a mirror that reflects empathy and hopes it could bring new discoveries and connections for both the artist and the audience.