Sheng Qi, Memories (Mother), 2000 (9.2004)
The photograph is part of Hand series (2005) by Chinese photographer Sheng Qi. In 1989, in protest of the massacre at Tiananmen Square, he cut off his left pinkie finger, which he buried it in a porcelain flowerpot to be able to leave part of himself in China. The photograph, through reductive simplicity (background color with the close up of the artist palm that held tiny black-and-white ID photograph), shapes our perception by the introspection and unique manner of recreating a memory and past moment in time. Mother, with photographs Me and Mao, also included in the ICP collection, reinforces the notion of the past bringing us to the future. Parts of the family and parts of body that shape the new independent country. Referring to the photographic language of ID photographs enclosed in the frame of photograph serves as a mirror for our identities that we can look through and shape ourselves. The photograph was included in the exhibition Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, which was co-organized by ICP and Asia Society.
–Kasia Gumpert, ICP-Bard 2014