I Picked This Up, So When I'm Not Here, You Can Look At It, 2016

Instant Film, Pressed Flower
30.6 x 46cm,
16.3 x 16.3cm
A set of two

‘I Picked This Up, So When I Am Not Here, You Can Look At It’ explores the construction of a narrative through the combined use of image, object and text. While the top layer of the work is a series of self-portrait, there is also an underlying narrative that goes beyond the record of my peripheral identity.

For the images, I have picked instant films over analog films or digital images as the base of the work. This is because the instantaneous tangibility provided along side of the imagery from an instant film has always interested me; in a way, the instant films are in-born objects. In addition, I have also enjoyed the shift of time presented in the traditional form of Carte De Visite. Therefore, I have decided to combine both the medium of instant film and the form of Carte De Visite in creating a series of self-portrait which aims to present a subtle narrative with a flow of movement. When concerning the movement itself, I have captured myself picking up an object from the floor. Yet, I have intentionally reserves a level of anonymity to that object, forming a mystery. In order to resolve such mystery, audiences would need approach the second part of the work – the object.

To further construct the narrative, I have revealed the mysterious object in the images as a flower. While subtly residing next to the images when presented, a strong indexical link could be seen between the flower and the images, making it one complete narrative. In terms of the form of the flower, I have decided to press and dry it in order to better preserve it. In addition, a pressed flower… a specimen, shares similar nature with a photograph; despite the attempt to capture life, the act inevitably kills the subject. As Christian Boltanski once said, ‘ to preserve it, is to kill it

At last, in order to provide further sophistication to the narrative, I have used text – the title. By giving a clear and straightforward statement, I attempt to verbalize the subtle narrative constructed between the images and the object and provide a context to the work. Through the statement  ‘I picked this up, so when I am not here, you can look at it’, a context is provided for the audiences to interpret and even romanticize.


Leung Mong Sum, Joseph © 2021. All Rights Reserved