Alastair Kwan (b.1993) is a British-born Chinese artist currently based in London.
Before the RCA he studied law at the University of Cambridge and worked as a lawyer for a couple of years.
He teaches the violin in his spare time.
This is me, trying to recreate a 10 second clip from a fight scene in a Jackie Chan film in the studio.
Since COVID, I have worked more with digital technologies and moving image to gather, understand, challenge, de-colonise and archive personal encounters with the world around me.
Below is a cross section of my practice. On this page you can find encounters with colonial architecture flattened into a series of textures; an inside glimpse into the building of the new Battersea South campus; and a collection of sculptures gathered from trips to a beach in East London.
Over the past year I have split my time between the RCA studios, and a small office off the Strand as part of a collective called ADAM, which you can find more about below. Here is a link to our publication which you can buy.
As I Walked Out is a growing personal collection of textures taken from environments that I come across day to day living in London. They were serendipitous encounters with colonial architecture, whilst out and about that caught my eye. They are fragments of the experience, that are roughly ordered by size and detail using 3D software. Towards the top they are detailed and larger, but as the image progresses downwards, they become smaller and less detailed, until they are finally uniform swatches of colour.
The New Campus, 2021 is a film exploring the Royal College of Art’s new Battersea South campus from a student’s perspective in lockdown, during a time of great change and uncertainty.
Narration by Elinor Coleman
Made in collaboration with the Future Archive project directed by Rut Blees Luxemburg.
Special thanks to Curtis, Maz, Corrina, Paul for their help and support.
Objects from the banks of the Thames, is a collection of sculptures, consisting of found and made pieces. They are tied together by the East End of London, which became the city’s first Chinatown. Chinese sailors settled around the docks after arriving from China in the aftermath of the Opium Wars.
ADAM is Hannah Dinsdale, Helen Wilson, Millie Laing-Tate and Alastair Kwan; four RCA Sculpture students who have been based in a vacated office at Number 10 Adam Street off the Strand, since September 2020. ADAM came about through a collective desire to promote an artistic community during the pandemic, when the streets of London were empty and the studios at the RCA were closed.
ADAM has created a nurturing and open environment; a radical response to the challenging conditions art schools have had to operate in over the past two years. What began as a month-long residency in a unique office space has turned into a fruitful collaboration, grown out of an organic and process-based approach rather than something geared towards a predetermined goal. ADAM has become a fundamental part of our Masters education and will change the way we think about what an art practice can be and what community means moving forward.
ADAM has revolved around conversations; both amongst ourselves and through opening up the space to fellow students, artists and friends alike. ADAM has hosted an Open Office, organised Clay Days and Crits, curated a series of Open Call exhibitions and given the space over for others to respond to in their own way. Out of these situations has evolved a community of artists in the heart of London.