Faded (2018)


Rumour has it
Black-and-white film negative registers red light as dark

Rumour has it
Each and every one of us has the tired-of-the-camera moment

Rumour has it
Light causes lightfastness to red printing pigment

Rumour has it
Afterimage is an optical phenomenon of seeing green light source over a period of time will recover the loss of red shade on an image

In the past decade, I have been building a habit to collect and hoard: any found object, printed matter and artefacts related to and condition photography, be they film negative, photography magazine, sound and voice, letter and correspondence, and gradually discovering many unheard and unseen stories.

‘Faded’ is a continuous artistic endeavour and through juxtaposition of artefacts and my own photographic interpretation. The artefacts were founded from Beijing Antique Market near Punjiayuan, Mansudae Art Studio at Pyongyang, North Korea, and the Street Flea Market at Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong; that I frequented from dawn to dusk. I see myself, rather ludicrously, a hoarder when the world idealises de-cluttering. The time that I spent with these disjointed artefacts gradually builds up new perspective and intention to create and respond. These artefacts contain photographic images that define what constitutes ‘icons’ in the public sphere, yet the images were faded in various conditions – caused by light, the environment, optical property or memory.

‘Faded’ includes four responding photographic works to connect the three printed matters. A lifestyle magazine titled Chosun published by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2017 that features ‘Kimjongilia’ in its cover. I re-photograph the red begonia named after the late North Korean leader, and through printing in the darkroom to render my seeing of the eternal symbol. In China Reconstructs(1976), I select an estranged portrait of Mao Zedong while he looked tired in front of the camera at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art in May 1942. Through re-photographing and printing the portrait by the wet-collodion process on transparent glass, a fragile and light-as-feather icon is thus created, with both positive and negative images. A soundwork, of recording the Chinese national anthem at the Tiananmen Square, is accompanied with the wet-collodion glass. A 99-seconds moving image work based on 9 Hong Kong Year Book to address my astonishment of the fading red pigment on the book spines and through superimposing a green shade to recover the lost of red, as ‘afterimage’.

VR Exhibition View @ KG+ SELECT exhibition:

‘Faded 色褪せた’, KG+ SELECT, Kyotographie 2019, Kyoto, Japan
‘Faded: A solo exhibition of LEE Wing Ki’, Lumenvisum, Hong Kong