Past Exhibitions > Lu Aubin


1 These days I am only concerned with telling things that have happened. Waiting on the sun-splotted
screen porch as the sunscreen dries. Waltzing on snowy beaches. The whistle of wind, sitting in apple tree
branches. A commitment to something beautiful: a life well lived. Frozen eyelashes. These photographs
are not invested in describing a narrative or an event so much as they are poetically relating to one
another, especially on the basis of what each reveals and obfuscates. In transparency and
opacity—darkness and vividness—calling out for one another. Through each of them, I am making a wish
inclined toward the sacred, ethereal, elegiac, and unknowable. Four white violets.

2 I am eavesdropping on my life, as if it were not my own. I am piecing together what I can gather.
Glimpsing images as if they were passing words. Saturated colors. Tangled digital fragments. Dark,
blurry, barely visible. Collapsing. The folly of a nondescript existence reaching outward. I am refusing
indulgence of the bleaker, colder things. Delicate. A relentless optimism. A view through teary eyes of
life’s gleaming, hallowed light.

3 This is for every moment I’ve been curious. For every moment I’ve turned to image-making,
wordsmithing, I have been caught between escapism and creationism. Am I running? Am I changing my
life as it stands? Is there a difference? I want to awake in my bed tired but truthfully. Open my eyes to the
image of my ceiling and feel relief. Welcome back: you are still yourself.

4 Endless days spent in damp towels wrapped round my august skin. The light on the island right before
it falls slowly behind the trees. Grass has never felt as good and I am stepping out of the shower every
day with a new sense of self.

5 You can see through my bedroom window each of those drifts caught on the church's roof and their
slow falling, as if continents. I remember that wonderful dust of a snow day. But I am against parsing out
and recounting the pieces of my life. Better to let each of these memories gather and fall like snow off of
the church roof. I will stop living on the page. None of this is life. Not the words, not the photos. Fantasy
cannot save me and I will proceed to be embarrassed. This is me renouncing all my attachment to
bravado. Now I will practice being relentlessly timid. I put my arms tightly around myself and recall the
following images: Grandma in the car. The beaver pond next to her house. Morning nosebleeds in
Mama’s old bathtub. Pennsylvania. Strip-mall window shopping. Joey’s birthday. Willow sitting on the
porch. A reflection on your childhood living room through your childhood’s glass frame. A vivid feeling
of the past you can’t articulate but every so often feel, for moments, everywhere. “Isn't it so lonely in the
heart of the house? Isn't it so lonely in the house without music? Isn't it so lonely if the music turns to
darts? Isn't it so lonely if the darts have you as target? Cut your dresses. Cut your teeth on your good
shirt. Make your bed but don't regret its lack of beauty. There is more than beauty that you're after. Leave
the house. Forget the music. There's a new light in the darkness.”

6 Everything is going to be okay.

7 There’s no more magic. But there are still pink socks, dark chocolate, kitchen flowers beside morning
coffee, people who make you laugh, happy tears. I don’t think any of that is restrained hoping. For every
ounce of cowardice there are sweet strawberries. If this text is just the antics of youth, I will relinquish it
all with an unapologetic grin. Thank you that vengeful moon, that loving sky, Thank you shallow heart of
unfeigned confidence, lingering promises, Thank you beautifully unfulfilled dreams. Dark sky open up
on me. I’m not dressed for this. Still, I’ll smile and laugh.

8 “You know already having photographed this material, and having catalogued what you left behind,
what is almost always left behind, wherein the alchemist searches for her completeness in the trace
material of residuary apartness, what you have written you have written, now open your mouth and
sing.” (Rick Moody, to Alex Nelson)

— —
[1] Virgo horoscope. May 3, 2021
[2] “Dear Alex,
I want to say it plainly, that last night I dreamed the perfect song, though it’s possible I’m getting the facts
wrong. It might have been the obverse, songs and dreams being matters of equivalent exchange. Anyway,
in the dream the refrain of the song involved themes of luminosity and youth, and in the morning owing
to a grief of awakening, I was naturally caused to think about your work, where there is often a
protagonist and a longed for thing (a presence and an absence), these constitutive, but also items of an
equivalent exchange—and when I refer to “light” in the song of which I dreamed, I mean
“enlightenment,” in a photograph, e.g., the physical thing, photons, and also enlightenment as a thing
written with a stylus, the hook returning to bedevil you, Alex, as if to say that what you have written you
have written: of a time lost, of lost promise, of quarry ponds, of lookout posts abandoned, of loves thrown
over, of cherished friends now further apart, and above all songs half-remembered and mumbled, until in
an evening the songs come to sing you, their inevitable narrator, and you try to get them down on a
negative, real or imagined, scribbling down the formulae before and after you depress the shutter. I can
almost tell you the secrets of the perfect song, mostly sort of a I-IV thing, containing a hint of gospel, and
some mid-sixties soul, and some occasional repetition of the phrase I saw the light, or more exactly She
saw the light, it’s all just out of reach, and I can’t remember exactly. You know already having
photographed this material, and having catalogued what you left behind, what is almost always left
behind, wherein the alchemist searches for her completeness in the trace material of residuary apartness,
what you have written you have written, now open your mouth and sing.

All best,

"Text by Rick Moody”

Lu Aubin