Illuminated Dreams / 照梦

(2023 - Ongoing)

Sometimes, when I try to recall a memory, I can’t tell if it’s a dream or reality. The time, place, and context of the memory become uncertain or impossible to access. The line between reality and dreams becomes blurred, or rather, in memory, dreams and reality become the same thing. Mist shrouds the vague memory. I try to recollect, like taking incomplete puzzle pieces and trying to put them back together. Pieces are rearranged. Different scenes intersect and overlap. Unrelated stories are glued and stitched together. But just like the moment we wake up, dreams are bound to shatter, no matter how we recall, they will never be what they were.

In this project Illuminated Dreams, I try to reconstruct dreams, or dream-like reality in memories. For many of the works, I break the complete photos into pieces, reconnect them through overlaying and collage, and integrate them into a whole piece through alternative photographic processes. When a print is exposed, the picture gradually appears like a dream is veiled step by step. Through the printing process, the work is given its own breath. On the papers, images may be blurry, fragmented, or distant. Subjects may be unrecognizable. The distinction between reality and fiction may disappear. They resemble the process of recalling. 


© Xuemeng Li, 2024