Requires Photography


Hiraki Sawa (Japanese, born in 1977)


Duration: 9 minutes

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Digital single channel video (black and white), sound

Not On View


Asia, Contemporary Art


Film and video

Though formally trained in sculpture, Hiraki Sawa began making video work in 2002. Many of his pieces feature ambulatory inanimate objects, usually in intimate, domestic spaces. He creates his videos through a process of taking digital photos, and cutting and pasting images by hand to create his collages, which he then animates. Devoid of narrative, his work plays with themes of memory, identity, and time, imbuing the work with a surreal, dreamlike quality. In Dwelling, Sawa uses his own sparsely decorated apartment as a backdrop for flying miniaturized planes, constructing a soothing, poetic black and white dreamscape. He chooses to use black and white imagery because he feels that black and white makes everything unrealistic. He says, “I like telling a lie… I know the space I create isn’t true…and I if I tell a lie, I like to lie completely.”


By 2012, consigned by the artist to James Cohan Gallery, New York; 2013, sold by James Cohan Gallery to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 27, 2013)

Credit Line

Charles Bain Hoyt Fund, Irving W. and Charlotte F. Rabb Acquisition Fund for the Department of Contemporary Art, and Michael D. Wolk Fund for New Media