top of page

Hiromi Nakajima

Sleep Working


Hiromi Nakajima site specific  installlation Sleep Working  included a performance during the opening of Leaving Language. Sleeping intermittently beneath a freshly painted canvas, in between reading extracts from her book Short Notes at The Metropole Gallery Folkestone England.

"Sometimes I try to talk to you with your language to know about you more. In the same sounds, with the same system but I make errors. Seems I pretend to play with intimacy and here it is again, thanking you (for correcting my mistakes) and sorry (for your additional work). Is it greedy as senseless as a petal landing on my shoulder, it's just the touch of a word. No matter what language we use words are still light, sounds will leave me high and harmonise over my height."

Hiromi Nakajima - Sleep Talking- Leaving

Notes and images littered the floor illuminated by two upturned table lamps, the Art Nouveau interior of The Metropole Gallery could have been a bohemian apartment or a space of European opulence that had slid into an existential malaise. Some of Hiromi Nakajima's paintings were fixed with Blutak into the moulded frames of the walls but others were stuffed into shelves or thrown on the floor.

In the plastered corner reliefs of an observant visitor could see violins, Venetian masks and coronets, a ballroom where Edward VII had entertained.  Around the perimeter appeared to be small brass doorbells, perhaps these had once summoned individual waiters to tables during the height of Empire. Did the dancers delirious on French Champagne order Italian truffles and caviar from the Caspian Sea, whilst  Schubert played and war was still a distant portent.

Now these might have rung to wake up Hiroma Nakajima if any famous curators walked into the gallery and a demanded sleepily recital, the jet-lag creased texts were crumpled and dissipated and at the centre of all this accumulation lay the Artist on a tatami matt covered in a painted canvas.


This bedroom space installation was called Sleep Working and invited the visitor to collapse on the floor to explore more closely the texts and paintings of Hiromi Nakajima. Images of colourful balloons, broken horse hooves and mountains with peaks that overflowed with a creamy lava, exploring a decolonised psyche witnessed a ribaldest maze in which ideas are torn into fragments.

There is no space for translation in the dense prose of the Artist written in English, these stories scattered on the floor of The Metropole are all that remained of the performance. 

English words by a Japanese Artist, when translations are activated what poetry of place and interpretation are lost?


Waugh Office was established in 2011 by Julia Waugh and Mark Waugh,

 as a hybrid platform curating exhibitions, events and publications internationally

Privacy Policy

© Waugh Office 2024.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
bottom of page