presence without presence
saddle stitch, with tracing paper jacket
14.8 x 21.0 cm
second edition with a print run of 15 copies, december 2022
individually hand numbered
An outmoded stove, the antiquated floor tiles, the old-fashioned shirts, the pictures hanging on the wall, these objects can be perceived as the tangible presence of my grandfather, who is diagnosed with gastric cancer and has been isolated in hospital since August.
The human condition seems complicated, we are strongly drawn to the precious memories, and unwilling to embrace the idea of letting go; we are constantly fabricating meaning into things, and immersed into it; we are persistently reinvigorating the feelings that someone is present in a place, albeit he is not physically there; we are terrified that our emotional boundaries attached to them are too excessive, that somehow we could not bear the fact that sooner or later they will vanish and fade into oblivion in time and space.
As far as I can recall, my grandparents’ home has no significant changes over the past two decades. I remember whenever I visited their home, the details of those conspicuous objects have always grabbed my attention, to a certain extent, these objects have shaped my impressions of my grandparents ever since my early childhood. Each of these objects is so lingering, it illustrates the essence of my grandparents, it portrays the aspects of their life, of their mild personalities, and their forgotten love story.
Day in and day out, it is devastating yet fascinating that, the timepiece has revealed the house comes to a standstill yet the time keeps moving, the swallows pass through swiftly yet the house inside stays motionless. Many things have been lost — the pale shadows in the memories; the absent weight in the bed; the missing warmth that have been reliant on — which can never be reclaimed, yet the timeless and immortal presence without presence, will last eternally.
Memories are shadowy, yet the objects are substantial, the pres- ence of my grandfather will perpetuate, as long as these objects are still in the house; the presence of my grandfather will strengthen, as long as I keep this personal photography project and redis- cover it a decade later; the emotional attachment between me and my grandfather will inevitably fade, yet I have captured the my grandfather’s presence into these photographs, so he will always be in my heart of hearts.
View the book here