1009-2020


DOUBLE DOUBLE
Writings/ Photographs/ Poetry/ Archives
A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.
李家昇黃楚喬網上雜誌,逢星期五出版

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JUNGLE LINE

Self-portraits of two photographers
written by Holly Lee


Holly Lee, self portrait, 2002
8x8 inches, archival pigment print

 

One very interesting topic in photography, for me, is self-portrait. In the past, Ka-sing and I had been invited several times to produce our own portraits. The two self-portraits published here was another attempt in 2002, featured in a group show organized by Gallery 44 in Toronto.

What do people expect to see in a self-portrait, especially one taken by the photographer himself, whose normal practice is just being an observer? Would he see only a mirror in front of him, his true “flipped” likeness, or would he work on a staged, preferred image to present to the viewer? That is a very interesting question. Sometimes, the photographer may decide to disappear altogether - hanging in limbo, or take the form of a piece of crumbed up newspaper. Could the fact be established then, if one leafs through pictures of self-portraits, he is looking simultaneously, through every taker’s mind and body?

In my 2002 self-portrait, I picked up a scene that’s been stuck in my head for many years. Sometime in 1975, I rented a room from a lady and became her housemate. Her husband was a sailor, and went often out to sea. My room was small, but it had a window which gave me the most extraordinary view - thousands of small wooden houses cascading down the foot of the hill. They were built by Chinese refugees who occupied the hill at the end of the 50s and subsequently transforming it into an empire of wooden huts. At night, I could always see millions of eyes laughing, and blinking at me. I used to put a formica square folding table (now considered retro…) in front of the window as my working desk. I loved working there, looking straight out of the window and getting lost in the magical forest of a thousand eyes. I even wrote a poem for the scene, saying that every night I was meeting a giant Christmas tree. So for the self-portrait here, I was trying to recreate this dramatic episode, only this time I wanted to look out to the cosmos, to meet and greet the twinkle twinkle little stars. Yet being in the city, in Trinity Bellwoods Park it’s hard to see any stars. Instead they winked and glittered in my imagination, and I could only hear leaves rustling in the gentle breeze.

 


Lee Ka-sing, self portrait, 2002
8x8 inches, archival pigment print

For the self-portrait, there is certain similarity to the way that I worked comparing to Ka-sing. We worked from memories. Around 2002, Ka-sing was working on an exhibition, a series he called ‘dot hong kong’, which he used the concept of re-photographing his old takes, to find new vision from originally existed images. Thus, for two years he continued to explore the idea through another exhibition, and realized the work in ‘The Language of ‘Fruits and Vegetable’, a collaboration piece with Leung Ping-kwan in 2004. In this way of working, I like to think, over the years the chef had prepared many delicious dishes, and finally gets time to sit down, to taste, and walk through from where he’d obtained the ingredients, in what way he’d cooked, while happily recall people and friends who had shared the experience. In this extremely slow tasting process, everything must have been delicately examined, and the undertaking, deeply satisfying. In Ka-sing’s self-portrait, my blur face was in the front. That also makes me aware that, I am never too far from the corners of his mind.

 

POETRY LAB

Lee Ka-sing
Holly descending the staircase from the third floor to the gallery, ready to go out to make a photograph at Trinity Bellwoods Park, a portrait

 

In 2012, FUJIFILM launched the new camera X-Pro1. Anothermountainman was helping for the publicity of this event in Hong Kong. He organized an exhibition “to see : to be seen” held at the two floors of Pao Galleries in the Hong Kong Arts Centre, an exhibition of 14 artists in seven pairs, each had to produce a self-portrait as well as a portrait of his/her team member. Me and Holly were invited as a team. Both of us received a brand new X-Pro1 through DHL.

Holly’s work, the portrait (of me) and her self-portrait, was finished in four flip-books, each 152mm x 50mm with various page counts. At that period I was working on the MOBILE POETRY LAB series - a series of sequential photographs, by which I wrote poems with, instead of texts. The self-portrait of mine, was twelve photo-cubes displayed vertically within a hand-made wood frame. Those are re-photographed images of my old work and oldies, including an early family photograph of me with my parents taken in 1956.

My portrait of Holly was an array of 30 pieces of small images, each mounted on a small (60mm x 60mm x 35mm) wood block. They were displayed horizontally on wall, a piece of “writing” that required audience to read it image by image, line by line. At one point, playing with time lapse, I elongate the period of time that people use to look at a piece of photo work.

Besides, in this work I did not intend to draw on the facial expression, but rather the sequential changes of phycological movements. The work comes with a long title “Holly descending the staircase from the third floor to the gallery, ready to go out to make a photograph at Trinity Bellwoods Park, a portrait”. I am a big fan of Marcel Duchamp and the title is after his “Nude Descending a Staircase”.

After the 2012 exhibition in Hong Kong, both pieces were kept by anothermountainman as gifts. In 2014, I re-made a new set of this work and put up a show at GALLERY 50 in Toronto.

“Holly descending the staircase from the third floor to the gallery, ready to go out to make a photograph at Trinity Bellwoods Park, a portrait” was also later made into a transcript as a Chinese poem. As I have mentioned, the series of pictures is a portrait of phycological movements, when transformed into texts it becomes a form that is more narrative, and people are starting to look into the stories.

 

Lee Ka-sing self-portrait (2012)
Examining a possibly taken in 1956 family portrait (with father and mother), his hand was holding a piece of round object. This might affect his work done over the past thirty years, the incessant reoccurrence of round objects in his photographs
觀察一張攝於1956年李家昇的家庭照(與父母親一起),他手中正拿著一顆圓形物件。這很可能是影響了他過去30年間圓形物體不斷地出現在作品的一個原因。

760mm x 100mm
Mixed media: Pine, oak, archival inkjet print on paper, acrylic medium



Lee Ka-sing
Holly descending the staircase from the third floor to the gallery, ready to go out to make a photograph at Trinity Bellwoods Park, a portrait

正在下樓梯的Holly,從三樓走到地面的畫廊。她正準備外出到Trinity Bellwoods公園拍攝一張照片(我們結婚30周年的春季某天)
Hong Kong Art Centre (2012)
Mixed media: Pine, archival inkjet print on paper, acrylic medium


Lee Ka-sing
Holly descending the staircase from the third floor to the gallery, ready to go out to make a photograph at Trinity Bellwoods Park, a portrait
GALLERY 50, Toronto (2014)

 

 

A transcription of the work into a text-based poem (in Chinese, 30 lines)

正在下樓梯的Holly,從三樓走到地面的畫廊。她正準備外出到Trinity Bellwoods公園拍攝一張照片。(我們結婚30周年的春季某天)


穿過飯廳書櫃工作室推開三樓之門
腳裹繞著煙霞膝上抖下貓的餘溫
模仿貓的健步吞吐
樓梯叠叠
彎過窗外車行如鰂
樹在梯間成長
版畫朋友逆流而過
經過二樓
二樓負荷三樓衆多書本重量又提供地面畫廊冷暖溫度空調
畫廊花開如一室寫詩游樂塲
牆上的李炳正在呢喃細誦他的符號學
荒木經惟荒謬攝影論
杜可風忽然又再挾著風聲路過多倫多
又一山人的花瓶盛開盛載藍白平衡線
也斯來唸詩
髙聲低調羅輝翻譯繞室環迴
回望畫廊二室相連空間的通道
遠處又在眼前高力麥高道的混聲彩墨山水合唱苦澀與機智
今天天氣真好雨後陽光錯縱忙碌休閒混雜
你端出我替你簡約木料手造的大片幅便裝照相機
我們出發繞道皇后西街東向
鐘活公園的樹們曾經是鄰居親切也陌生
神話精靈倒掛在樹梢我們推手呵護
山海經注也是紋理地理學
三十年前買的袁柯注本今天竟然讀出新發見
話說圖書館外纖纖櫻花樹苗當年來自東方
每周中日港台的新贈本冊閱讀葉子昨天枝椏明日的硬果
盛放今天你看那松鼠的家族原是移居自遠年
今天就讓我當你的助手罷裝上包容吐納的膠卷
你看透春天按下快門捉住四季變幻於一身

 


Holly Lee
four flip-books, each 152mm x 50mm with various page counts (2004)

 

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DOUBLE DOUBLE
Issue 1009-2020

A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.
Published by Ocean and Pounds and archived at oceanpounds.com
All rights Reserved.


Selective items in this publication are available at the OCEAN POUNDS online shop. For items featured in CURRENT WORK, VINTAGE, ARTIFACT, PUBLICATION, OBJECT, BOOKSCAPE and COLLECTION, please send a request to: mail@oceanpounds.com.

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leekasing.com is a portal website for current and earlier works. Apart from exhibitions, Holly and Ka-sing use extensively web platforms to display photography and writing projects. Contact us for a detail list of links.

Holly and Ka-sing currently live in Toronto with their daughter Iris, and their cat Sukimoto.

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