In films, directors often use shots of objects or scenery as metaphors or implications to convey plots and emotions of characters. Sometimes these shots focus on scenery, sometimes on objects. By using this technique, the directors translate their ideas along with the story background, timeline and events into metaphors, encouraging the audience to read these symbols in their views.
In my previous project Their Rooms, Their Dreams (2014), I wanted to present faithfully those unique, personal traces of residence (including the intangible, such as smell, emotions and atmosphere) through the depictions of different rooms and objects. As for this project, I tried to construct different scenes with various mirrors. These mirrors are not just pieces of glasses, but lens for looking through. In the same space, on the same surface, the mirrors, reflections and the spaces between them are like metaphors which reveal all kinds of details and stories, creating a viewing experience similar to watching scenery shots in a film, leaving the audience space for interpretation. Among the mirrors, the lines on the walls, reflections of objects, personal collections, and exuberant vines form various poetic images, which allow the viewers to feel the flow of time and discover different stories of that space.
Compared to the moving frames of films, paintings can better display the static characteristics of objects, such as transparency, colors, order and light. In The Infinity of Lists, Umberto Eco quotes from Emanuele Tesauro’s The Aristotelian Telescope: “The Italian rhetorician Emanuele Tesauro, in Il Cannochiale aristotelico, or The Aristotelian Telescope (1665) proposes the model of the metaphor as a way to discover hitherto unknown relationships between unknown data. The method works by compiling a repertoire of known things that the metaphoric imagination can use to find new parallels, links, and affinities.”
While looking back the works I have done, the idea of combining them with this project came into mind. Thus I decided to turn every painting of Their Rooms, Their Dreams (2014) into an item that can be collected and gathered together in Their Rooms and Their Dreams (2016). Through this action of collecting, these paintings of rooms and the items painted in them have then been given a new property. In Their Rooms and Their Dreams (2016), the room pictures are separate yet linked together, serving as reflections of one another. The mirror images and the space of the rooms echo with each other, just like random shots that build up a storyline, in which one can find independent plots as well as story series.
If the collection of these items with different properties can be seen as a list, what I do with this list is to use my imagination to discover the unknown relationships between them. Same as the objects in a scenery shot of a film, these items in the paintings are essentially what they are—objects or space with practical functions: mirrors, gloves, hats, frames, a dressing room, walls, and etc. However, once the viewers try to interpret in a poetic way the form and order of these items’ existence in the paintings, a brand-new visual significance will be created. (For example, you might want to take a closer look at the mirrors which reflect memories and dreams, the infinite space created by numerous frames, the scattering of light and shadows on the shabby walls. You can also try to find out how the items interact with each other, by observing details like the odd size and peculiar relative distance of the objects.)