Each of us has a story that starts from “that day.” For Lingfei Ren, From That Day On is a long-term project presenting her memories and experiences that are multi-threaded and interweaved through her work. The images metaphorically and candidly reflect Ren’s responses to family, love, changes in the social environment and world events. Ren discusses the definition of ‘home’ and people’s psychological conditions affected by identity, family, social construction, and urban life. The effect can be individual or collective; they can also be temporary or consecutive.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, most people’s lives have gone through a drastic change. Some people’s attitude towards life and their perception of the world have completely shifted. Isolation is composed of 15 grids respectively named Fragment 1-15. By separating, gluing, and overlapping images of empty spaces and close-up inanimate objects, Ren reflects her emotional projection of life in the epidemic — loneliness, depression, disappointment, anxiety, and loss. This sense of isolation not only comes from the destruction of normal daily routines by home isolation, but also comes from the individual’s powerlessness and anxiety in the face of uncertainty.
After the pandemic, people seem to have become accustomed to adopting virtual communications for all kinds of social interactions. In Picnic on the Grass, the people presented in the work reside in the same time and space. However, each person’s face, hands and belongings require more intimate interaction. Those images are replaced by mirrors and the cut-outs are displayed separately in Picnic on Zoom. These fragmented and self-contained planes reflect the metaphors of virtual communications we utilise every day.
The exhibition From That Day On by Lingfei Ren is curated by Jodi Kwok. Ren was awarded the Lishui/FORMAT Award 2021, selected by Louise Fedotov-Clements and Nimah Treacy as part of FORMAT’s ongoing partnership with the Lishui International Photography Festival, China. With thanks to Wang Peiquan and Isabella Xueke Wang.