Luo Hailun Solo Exhibition —— Retrospect and Efflux

16 December 2022 - 15 January 2023
Text/Li Zijian
Photography is inevitably associated with memory. In a way, we construct memories in photographs, retrospectively understand the past, and let the future unfold in time. In this exhibition, Luo Hailun presents two recent works "Yaya" and "Before Loss" from the perspective of retrospection and efflux, exploring the relationship between events in life and memory with  powerful images.
“Yaya” focuses on the daily life of Hailun's grandfather, the title "Yaya" is the name of his grandfather in Shanghainese. Following Hailun's camera, perhaps the first thing that catches our attention are the scars on his face. These scars, which have been with him for more than 50 years, were left by a serious accident when he firstly work in a chemical factory. Before that, he was an Air Force pilot. Through Hailun's delicate lens, we seem to see those retrospective memories that belonged to Grandpa: old photos under glass panels, trophies and medals, and model airplanes waiting to take off. But what seems to be more important is that this set of works presents us with Hailun's own observations of her grandfather, giving Hailun long-lasting companionship and positive optimism to face life. Memory is retrospectively shaping the present, while the trauma of that 50-year-old event seems to have long since dissipated in the everyday life.
On the other side of the exhibition space, "Before Loss" focuses on the mechanism of event and memory production. Through a series of set photographs, Hailun tries to explain what exactly is an event, that is, a sudden or gradual irreversible change of the stable state of things. The moment before the falling glass touches the ground, the moment before the rope is taut under the great tension, the separation of friends and relatives, the gradual fading of flowers. These moments framed by photos always remind us of the past and future. This is the mechanism of memory, always starting from the imagination of things that have disappeared, standing in the present and reconstructing the past. Without these events, our memories would not have been created.
Trauma and fading may be inevitable for all of us, but these events do not mean that we can only passively accept them, but rather they become a possible way to generate memories. Between retrospection and efflux, Hailun Luo tries to show us the events in life and the memories that keep emerging through these photographs.