I was once left in a car at a young age. I don’t know when or where or for how long, possibly at the age of four, perhaps outside a supermarket, probably for fifteen minutes only. The details don’t matter. The point is that I wondered if anyone would come back. The fear I felt was strong: in a child’s mind it is possible to be alone forever.
Around the same age I began to feel a deep affinity with animals – in particular their plight at the hands of humans. I saw a TV documentary that included footage of a dog being put in a plastic bag and being kicked. What appalled me most was that the dog could not speak back.
I should say that I was a well-loved child and never abandoned and yet it is clear that both these experiences arose from the same place deep inside me: a fear of being alone and unheard.
When I started this project I knew the photos would be dark. In a sense, I was attempting to go back inside my car, to re-experience what I couldn’t bear as a child. What I didn’t expect was to see so many subtle reactions by the dogs: some sad, some expectant, some angry, some dejected. It was as if upon opening up a box of grey-coloured pencils I was surprised to see so many shades inside.
Christine Wu is a habitual trouble maker and professional rule breaker. Stylistically, her work is multi-layered with haunting and sexual undertones. She often depicts people in flux, capturing the vulnerability of self discovery and the lingering ghosts of memories best left to the past. Miss Wu lives in the land of the lotus-eaters and paints in a bear suit while listening to car alarms.
I’m a huge fan of Wu’s ghostly overlapping of figures and body parts in subtle motion, implicit of layering nonlinear time - almost like glimpsing the way Tralfamadorians experience reality in four dimensions - sometimes rendered in a way that makes the multiplicity of a single figure indiscernible from a tangle of bodies and limbs interacting with one another.