FionaFei invited me to visit her new installation that opened on May 29th at the Hannington Endowment for the Arts (HEA). Entitled I Had a Dream, And You Were There, it is a reflection of thoughts and feelings that may come upon us unbidden, be it through dream or through finding an object or hearing a sound or seeing an image or event, that bring to mind someone now gone from our lives.
Set as a dream-like forest, the trees rendered in Fiona’s familiar ink wash black on white, that we’re invited to explore. Within it, the ground is white, as if mist is sliding through the trees, brushed ferns grouping around the base of trunks. Among these trees are park benches offering places to sit in contemplation.
On or near the benches are bright red objects: an alarm clock here, a scarf draped over a branch there, a hat hanging on the back of a bench, a flittering butterfly or two, and so on. All of them are precisely the kind of thing liable to trigger a sudden memory of someone once close to us. Touch them, and they will even offer a specific memory in local chat.
For those who have lost someone from their physical or virtual lives, I Had a Dream is liable to be an evocative visit. And by “lost”, I don’t necessarily mean the individual memory recalls has passed away; we lose people from our lives in a wide variety of ways: friendships form and end; closeness fades as physical distance grows; relationships naturally shift in desire, want and need, and so on. Even so, memories of their presence and former closeness can remain with us long after a parting of the ways have come and can – no matter how the parting came about – still come to the fore in the most unexpected ways.
It’s also important not to ascribe the installation to a specific loss on Fiona’s part. As she states in the introduction to the installation:
It is a creative manifestation of thinking about someone and wishing that they were here … The artwork is not about any specific person.
Simply and artistically presented, I Had a Dream… is an installation that can unfold to reveal considerable emotional depth, echoing as it does, feelings that many, if not all of us, have felt in our adult lives.
- Hannington Endowment for the Arts (Xeltentat Enterprises, rated Moderate)