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The objects we surround ourselves with everyday are important mnemonics for our sense of self. The houses that we live in bear witness to events that are significant, intimate or habitual to us. We leave traces of ourselves behind, both literally and figuratively, in our homes.

Having moved between sixteen houses in the past decade, I don’t have an extensive collection of personal memorabilia or a permanent space that I reside in. The objects I take with me are often kept in cardboard boxes, and frequently moved into new rooms. Perhaps because of this, I have a persistent fear of forgetting.

To allay this fear, I replicate fragments of familiar spaces or domestic objects – a door leading to a childhood bedroom, an old kitchen sink from when I lived in Providence, small home altars that were in every household while I was growing up. The fragments that I make are imperfect copies, often deteriorating - melting or becoming chipped at the edges and never fully retaining all the details. But they enable me to keep a physical memory of spaces that were once intimate and meaningful to me.

But my works are not just memorials for time and places lost. When we live in our homes, be it temporary or permanent, we shape the space everyday and leave traces of ourselves. We shed skin and hair, rearrange furniture, draw the sun-bleached curtains close, sit on a favourite spot on the couch that becomes sunken with repeated use. The objects or architectural fragments I make often have an uncanny, bodily quality that amplifies and dramatizes the traces that we leave behind. Despite the loss in clarity of my memories over time, I take comfort in knowing that the residue of my presence will continue to animate the spaces I have lived in and the objects I have often used, long after I have moved. 

Xinwei Che

August ‘17