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THE FAMILY PORTRAIT (2014-2015)

 

Is blood thicker than water?

What kind of meaning is contained within a family photograph? Probably people dream of permanence, love and an everlasting happy family as the picture is taken. Nonetheless, against their wishes, family breakdown is widespread nowadays and is no longer remarkable enough to be a matter of social concern.

Personally, I suddenly realised the importance of the family photograph after a series of family hardships which meant I could no longer take any more pictures of my own. After my father’s struggle against terminal cancer, then passed away I felt a strong longing to search for the last picture of our family together.

In the picture, my family memories of seven years ago were captured intact. Although we were not the happiest family at the time, at least we were seemingly ordinary in the picture. However, the family in the picture no longer exists any more.

Gaston Bachelard, a French poet, scientist and philosopher, shows his great insight into the element of water in his book ‘Water and Dreams’ (1942). According to Bachelard, Water dissolves more completely and death is in it. the ultimate dissolution, is thus exists in water. Water carries things far away, water passes like the days. But another reverie takes hold of us to teach us the loss of our being in total dissolution

By projecting our final family images onto an ice wall, the temporality of the ice water can express transitory preservation before melting away. In addition to this, the pictures, which are anonymised through the ice representation, combine and compare the blood representing the family. The ice, as a temporary state of water, poses questions about the permanence and meaning of the family in modern society.

The anonymised faces of the family members are intended to provoke wonder in the audience regarding their identity as they are no longer my own family but could be any family in the neighbourhood.

WATER AND DREAMS An Essay On the Imagination of Matter, Gaston Bachelard, 1942, The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, P91