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Speak, Memory of Butterflies

© Hong Lei. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion, 2015

Speak, Memory of Butterflies

Artist: Hong Lei (Born in Jiangsu, China, 1960)
Culture: Chinese
Date: 2005
Medium: Chromogenic print
Dimensions:
37 1/8 x 47 1/8 in. (94.3 x 119.7 cm)
State: 8
Edition: 10
Classification: Photograph
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Label Text:Traditional Chinese painting has a strong tradition of still lifes that depict perfect specimens of nature. Hong Lei's images refer to, yet depart from, that tradition. Hong is troubled by how quickly China is changing and mourns the loss of history and tradition. He has said, "When I manufacture my images, I give that which has survived an intense visual power. The images are strongly emotional and nostalgic. It is about triggering memory as that history disappears."

Hong presents us with stalks of Dog's Tail grass, a dragonfly and a butterfly populated with insects, held in place by strings that are plainly visible. The artist has made a point to show the viewer the staging of the artwork. We are reminded that what we see is not real, but manufactured.
Object number: 2007.2.1.2
UA-478739-2