oil on canvas
42 pcs, various dimensions
Huang’s installation of forty-three oil paintings, The Family Album—So See You Later (2009-2012), is a meditation on loss and absence. At the centre of the installation, in a black frame like a revered ancestor portrait, is an image of the artist’s father, who abandoned his wife and children when Huang was very young, so the work represents her longing for an impossible, idealised lost parent and an unbroken family. With his indistinct, blurred features the man in this portrait could be anyone; the artist might have passed him on the street without recognising him. Around the central portrait another forty-two paintings are arranged in a ‘salon hang’ against dark walls. Canvases of different shapes and sizes, some in old-fashioned oval frames, recall faded portraits hanging in a nineteenth century parlour. Among them we see a family group, two girls, small children holding hands, a couple turned away from us, and a boy in military camouflage uniform, interspersed with paintings of gesturing hands, and small pictures of trees and landscape. It’s a mysterious collection of images, pale and a little fogged, like photographs from a family album: distant relatives and half-remembered friends from long ago.