Aseptic Field: Film Photographer Lean Lui on Purity & Idealism

In our last interview with Hong Kong artist Lean Lui, she told us about her pinhole and washing machine experiment Disorder Sensing, a concept anchored on Eastern philosophy and Western art.

We recently reconnected with Lean again to talk about her second photobook Aseptic Field. Lean's conceptual photobook, which is grounded on her personal beliefs on love, purity and self-image, comes after her first book <19.29>, a visual diary of her self-reflections released when she was 20 years old. Here's our interview with her.

Credits: Lean Lui

Hi, Lean! Welcome back. How have you been since the last time we had a chat with you? What have you been working on?

Nice to be back again! I’m doing well, very happy to publish my second book Aseptic Field with Setanta Books.

Credits: Lean Lui

When did you start working on Aseptic Field and what were your inspirations behind it?

This book revolves around my extreme mental mysophobia. I've stood my demanding standard of pure love for the past 25 years. I puked when I knew my date had been in a relationship before, I also did during my first therapy session.

I couldn’t accept it, it felt so unfair, making my idea of ‘pure love’ become ‘dirty’. Almost everyone said I’m too idealistic about true love but coming from a family which all married their first love, and Asian dramas, I couldn’t stand for any impurities in the relationship, no matter the memories or any other things.

If I surrendered one day, Aseptic Field would be my epitaph. But for now, this is the safe place for my soul.

Credits: Lean Lui

Also, I wanted to present a sealed space, a very moist, high-pressure and lubricating space. I often feel isolated from the outside world. Aseptic Field, the title, is very scientific. It’s isolated and cold, very restrained. I was thinking about testing for bacteria in petri dishes at secondary school.

An aseptic field has no bacteria, no germs, just very clean and pure. That’s my ideology for my emotional value system, like the pureness of love. My photos are quite emotional, poetic and dreamy, but they’re also very calm. The emotions are inside but it’s like the sea: when a wave comes and the sea looks calm, but underneath it's a big wave.

Credits: Lean Lui

The photobook explores ideas about pure love, personal space and the outside world, femininity and sexuality. Do you think these are themes that need to be talked about more?

I delve deep into the intricate and multilayered concept of "pureness," constantly exploring its complexities and expanding its horizons. Being a cute Asian girl in my appearances, I've always felt the malicious gaze from the patriarchal society since I was a child–the innocent and submissive images, which makes me sick. Hence, I thought all the cuteness and pureness should become a weapon, a sugar-coated bullet.

Pure is not about knowing less but insisting more. In this new-age, most people have become proud of being a player in a relationship, or having “situationships”, going physically before mentally, for hedonism and curiosity. I don’t judge people, we should all respect others' choices and be honest about our own, but that’s all gross to me.

Most people would think that I’m too extreme but actually I've found the same group on the internet luckily. It’s a small group.

Credits: Lean Lui

As an artist, a lot of your works have always been rooted in your own emotional experiences. How do you find the courage or motivation to express your inner world through your art?

In the opposite way, I feel uncomfortable if I don’t transfer my emotions to work because I need a place to save them.

Were the photos for this project taken solely on film? Which cameras and film stocks did you use to get the consistent look you wanted for the photobook?

Yes, 95 percent is film. Maybe my consistent mood came from the common motif and concept more than the appearances, since I use different cameras like Pentax, Canon, Minolta, but I used Kodak film the most.

Lastly, where can we get copies of the photobook?

Through Setanta Books.

We'd like to thank Lean for sharing her thoughts and images with us!

To view more of her work you may check her LomoHome, Instagram page and website.

written by sylvann on 2024-03-28 #culture #news #people #hong-kong #photobook #lean-lui #aseptic-field

More Interesting Articles