Benching

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We assign meanings to many objects.  The bench is one of them. A bench can generate many imaginations such as a resting romance with lovers leaning against each other, a lonesome moment with a single silhouette against the empty sky, and a relaxing respite in a busy city park. In reality, a bench is where we occasionally sit and chat with friends and lovers; it is also where the homeless spend their days and nights. An object hardly exists as itself. It exists in social contexts and in our mind.

My work consists of several miniature bench-like forms. They are simple, constructed quickly and not functional. I placed them in different corners of the city and photographed them. The photographs show the moments when those miniature benches stood in the most mundane, plain, gritty urban environment. However, they may still appear poetic to our eyes. Through the juxtapositions with the idealized scenes with benches that I collected from the Internet, I hope to generate a comparison and conversation between the two sets of images, which can strengthen the power of the object but at the same time diminish its power. We read images with our established ideas and way of thinking. My work does not intend to take away these ideas from viewers’ mind. It is an attempt to reinterpret an object, and to encourage viewers to take a mental journey to see where our pre-existing knowledge and imagination can lead us to, starting from simple representation of an object.

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