Memories can be illusive, especially when considered through the filter of time. Events, people, places and things that we think we well remember can actually be quite unclear and mutable as we attempt to assemble in our minds the images that make up a particular memory. In Absence, I explore this experience of the distant memory. These pieces, based on portraits of people who are anonymous to me, lose their resolution as one approaches them. Facial features that could seemingly be distinguished from afar become mere impressions as one comes up close. We are left feeling the absence of the people in the portraits, not unlike losing the ability to remember details as one grasps at a distant memory.
Each portrait in this series is comprised of a small stack of hand-punched paper. While one might be able to discern the face, or maybe just eyes or a nose from each piece in the stack, it is only offers a small notion. Like the memories of a long lost childhood friend, it is the perspective of regarding all the vague notions taken together that gives the overall perception of the portrait.
In continuing my exploration into memory and identity using found photographs, I started to reflect on the notion of a photograph being representation of memory. This notion is often the only truth in a photograph, and particularly apparent when looking at found photographs. I began building a device that would help me capture this notion.
These portraits are of people that I do not know. They are based on pictures of people from old photographs that I found in flea markets and antiques stores. While collecting these old photos, I found that there was something haunting and inherently sad about the faces that looked back at me. While anonymous to me, these photographs were a lifetime of cherished memories for someone else. I wondered about these people, who they were, what the occasions were where the pictures were taken, and why these photographs which served as the representation of these moments were ultimately discarded.
This series reflects an exploration into perception and its cousin, perspective. Taken from an "worm's eye view", these photographs distort perspective and scale to expose the mundane – the inches become yards and the regular becomes colossal, tiles become fields and the toilet becomes monumental. Collected toiletries and personal items reveal a portrait of the inhabitants. The undersides of sinks, the pipes and the leads to the toilet that are seen anew create another perspective on the everyday.
Observed in their natural habitat, dustbunnies reveal complex social—and sometimes anti-social—behaviour. These slow-moving illusive creatures can often be found snoozing underneath common objects, usually gathering in small herds.
Dustbunnies are staunch survivors and can be found in the harshest of environments. They can survive the deadliest of natural toxicants, including clorox, spic’n’span, and mister clean. As with many creatures in the wild, dustbunnies are not immune to human encroachment. With new human technology like the vacuum, and the more recent technological advancement such as the Swiffer, dustbunnies face an uphill battle for survival. However, as dustbunnies are prolific breeders, it is hoped that they will be able to overcome these seemingly insurmountable obstacles and survive.
This social grouping was last seen during the Great Spring Cleaning of 2007.
Things that go bzzt in the night.
About Henry Chung
Henry Chung is a Brooklyn based artist working in photography and mixed-media.
Henry lives in Brooklyn and maintains a studio in Red Hook where he builds his pinhole cameras and programs obsolete computer equipment.
October 11, 2014
Gowanus Open Studios 2014
February 14, 2014
Henry Chung at Blank Space Gallery in Chelsea 3/13/14
January 25, 2014
"Misrepresentation" at Lesley Heller Workspace, 2/5 - 3/9
October 14, 2013
Open Studios 2013
September 16, 2013
Opening reception at HERE, Thu Sep 28
183 Lorraine St., 3rd Fl
Brooklyn, NY 11231