The time between messages, the length between reunions, the distance between lovers – our intimate lives are filled with spaces. Whether they be passionate or painful, absences punctuate our daily routines with reminders of a beloved when they are no longer there. From heady first meetings to bittersweet goodbyes, throughout it all, love haunts us like a ghost.
Where have we looked for love? Within a humble bowl of rice or the fantasy of a boyband, either real or imagined, the artists in I Loved You search for the sites of our intimate lives. Qiu Jiongjiong leads us beneath the bustle of Beijing to a smoky underground bar echoing with songs of longing. Gao Rong recreates the warmth of her grandparents’ home with needle and thread, rendering brick as soft as a favourite sweater. For Hu Weiyi the trace of love lingers for a moment on his partner’s skin. For Jiang Zhi its memory burns brightly like a flower caught ablaze. From old rickshaws to abandoned playgrounds, love turns up in unexpected places.
Yet love can seem as elusive as a flower in a mirror or the moon in water. Written under the haze of intoxication, Shi Yong immortalises the fevered poetry of his friend in a pool of red neon lights. Glimmering like the embers of a fading fire, his work conjures the words of Pushkin: “I loved you; and perhaps I love you still / The flame, perhaps, is not extinguished…”