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  • Writer's pictureCristea Zhao

4. Au Hoi Lam: My Father is Over the Ocean, 2013

AU Hoi Lam

Log (2012.03.25 – 2013.03.25), 2012-2013

Oil-based ink, two weekly diaries (acid-free paper), drawing pin, copper nails, acrylic, wooden drawing board

AU Hoi Lam

Sixty Questions for My Father (or for Myself), 2012-2013

Pencil, acrylic gel medium, oil-based ink, screws, pinewood components of a set of used bunk beds

AU Hoi Lam

Dad, What Shade of Blue did You See Today? 2012-2013

Pencil, colour pencil, acid-free paper(daily-diary), copper nails, corkboard, acrylic board and wooden frame

‘My Father is Over the Ocean’ is very personal. The exhibition was held one year after the artist’s father past away. 12 months, is the duration of her mourning for the loss.

These three works selected from the show were heartbreakingly touching. Log (2012.03.25 – 2013.03.25) was a yearly notebook cut into days, imprinted with the lyrics of ‘’. With the recorded sound of the artist singing the same song, this work is almost a ‘synaesthesia’ work that extended across the time. Even without being there, I almost still hear her singing and asking when her father would come back every single day. Various blue colored on the notebook everyday for 13 months. Each blue was the imagination and speculation of what did he see everyday on the sea. The father used to purchase a bunk bed for Au and her daughter, for their staying if two of them come back home together. While in his last days, he lay on the lower bed illuminated, thinking himself was on the sea and wanted to land. The bed was there for uniting with a daughter, but in the end turned into the father’s sickbed, a boat that would never land, and some destructed pinewood boards with sixty questions written on, to which would never be answered.

These intimate pieces are developed from personal memories. The ‘(or for Myself)’ in the title of this work is important for constructing an act of mourning. It suggests an entanglement of the lived ones and the deceased ones: I am here, participated into the questions asking my father, but there will be no answer anymore. There’s always going to be a falter and blank in me. The loss of father’s answers hid in the loss of himself, with the puzzle that is not able to be solved, I become inexplicable myself.

These works are beautiful pieces using daily life objects as materials building up repetitively emerged imagines, symbols and sounds. The way it expanded an illumination of a diseased beloved person into the reality, and involved the viewers into the grief has some influence onto me.

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