Blog / Collection Highlights

Sim Chi Yin
"The suitcase is a little bit rotten", 2022

Using the archive to muse on the potentials of transgenerational memory and inheritance

ABOUT THE artwork

This magic lantern slide is from “The suitcase is a little bit rotten”, a conceptual series of work by Sim Chi Yin using new and found imagery to muse on the potentialities of inheritance and transgenerational memory. The series was created as part of Autograph's 2022 commissioning project Critical Times: Dialogues in Contemporary Photography  supported by the Bagri Foundation. This work is part of Autograph's collection of photography.

The series makes use of an archive of magic lantern slides from the early 1900s. Chi Yin's interventions enable a re-imaginging of history and photographic time travel, through which the artist creates a fantastical time-space visual repertoire. She explains: “I wanted to create a sort of chronotopia – a collapsing or shifting of time and space.” By inserting members from her own family history into the slides, Chi Yin creates a palimpsest with different layers evoking childhood, trauma, futurity and the long legacies of colonial violence. 

about the artist

Sim Chi Yin

Sim Chi Yin (born 1978, Singapore) is a research-led visual artist whose interdisciplinary practice focuses on history, conflict, migration and memory, often combining photography, moving image, archival interventions and text-based performance in her multi-layered works.

Chi Yin’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at institutions and festivals such as Zilberman Gallery, Berlin; Les Rencontres d’Arles; Landskrona Foto Festival, Sweden; Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong; Institute of Contemporary Arts, Singapore; Nobel Peace Museum, Oslo; Aesthetica Art Prize, York Art Gallery, UK; Jendela (Visual Arts Space) Gallery, Singapore; Guangzhou Image Triennial, China; 15th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey amongst others.

Her work is in the collections of The Getty, Singapore Art Museum and the National Museum of Singapore. She was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017. Chi Yin is represented by Zilberman Gallery in Berlin and Hanart TZ Gallery in Hong Kong. She is completing a practice-based PhD at King’s College London and is currently based between New York and Berlin. You can see more of the artist's work on her website.

Read More



This photograph is in Autograph's permanent collection of photography, where it has been conserved and digitised


This work has been exhibited in Berlin and New York City

related CONTENT

View more works from the commission

View all 12 works from the commission "The suitcase is a little bit rotten"

See more

Critical Times: Dialogues in Contemporary Photography

An online event to launch three new artist commissions, featuring Sim Chi Yin

Watch | 90 min

Time Travel Interventions in the Archive

An interview with the artist

Read blog post | 16 min read

Commissioning Project

Part of our commissioning project responding to critical geopolitics through photography

Find out more

Poetic Response

Nina Mingya Powles' poetic response to "The suitcase is a little bit rotten" by Sim Chi Yin

Read | 3 min read

supported by

Supported by the Bagri Foundation and Autograph

Banner image: Sim Chi Yin, from the series “The suitcase is a little bit rotten”, commissioned by Autograph for Critical Times: Dialogues in Contemporary Photography (2022), supported by the Bagri Foundation.

Images on page: 1) Sim Chi Yin. Photo: Joel Low. 2) Sim Chi Yin, "The suitcase is a little bit rotten" on display at Zilberman Gallery, Berlin as part of the group exhibition Transit (29 April - 29 July 2023), photo credit: Chroma.