Lost in Time, Found in Memory (2023)

‘Lost in Time, Found in Memory’ by Calvin Tay is an exploration of the intricate relationship between our personal recollections and shared nostalgia manifested in physical monuments of memory.

Originating from a seasonal purge of accumulated clutter that ranged from handwritten letters and trophies to old subway cards – items stashed away by the artist that once held memories but have since gradually faded from his everyday thoughts, this body of work builds on Tay’s continual investigation of the overlooked aspects in our lives and his decade-long focus on materiality and sculpture. Fresh from this discovery, Tay began looking outward, interpersonally recognising that the idea of a ‘memory box’ exists across cultures, with many harbouring similar experiences and mementoes. And yet, our individual recollections and interpretations of these shared moments can be vastly different, often forgotten and rarely documented. This revelation became the foundation of his latest creations.

Tay invited the public to embark on a similar journey of introspection, to delve into their own ‘memory box’ and uncover physical keepsakes, along with a description of the cherished memory attached to each. This exhibit contains 50 items, each accompanied by personal recollections that influenced the final outcome. Each memory has been documented, dissected and analysed. Through this process, Tay aimed to uncover moments where our memories converge, ultimately weaving a more intricate tapestry of shared experiences, categorising them based on their emotional resonance or thematic threads.

In a parallel process, Tay deconstructed these items by hand. These fragments converge with their counterparts, finding unity among items of analogous categories, imbuing life into sculptures inspired by geodes – often overlooked yet profoundly beautiful, akin to our cherished memory boxes. Each sculpture embodies shared moments, emotions, and chapters of life that have been immortalised in resin to create the layers of these ‘memory rocks’. Just as the naturally forming geode takes time for formation, these collective memories have now coalesced over different lives and eras, giving character to the distinctive forms in this exhibit.

There is a delicate interplay between nostalgia and anticipation in Tay’s ‘Lost in Time, Found in Memory’, which presents a sentimental tribute to our past with an invitation to embark on a transformative journey. Here, the elements of time, recollections and shared experiences converge as a reminder that memories are ours to recall or tuck away, share or forget.

View the 50 items that were donated, here. Click through IG story “LITFIM Items” for stories attached to each item.

Walkthrough and see more details of each individual sculpture in the Matterport exhibit here.

‘Lost in Time, Found in Memory’, 18th Nov – 1st Dec 2023. Figment Clubhouse, 11 Lor 24A Geylang, Singapore.