“Whether or not the stories are ‘true’ is not the problem. The only question is whether what I tell is my fable, my truth.” These words preface Carl Jung’s autobiography, Memories, Dreams, and Reflections (1962). But they could just as easily precede the photographs in this feature. In little oneiric albums, each conceived as a diptych, Diana Nicholette Jeon reflects on personal and shared experiences of memory and dream.
“Due to the ephemeral nature of both memory and dreams,” Jeon explains, “I have placed these images in tins, to simulate the memory boxes in which people store their family photographs and mementos. A book of visions to sort through, like a collection of pictures we barely recognize yet somehow relate to as having experienced.”
In her series, “Nights as Inexorable as the Sea,” each volume opens with a chapter. And in the chapter is only a beginning and an end, though which comes first is never clear. The highway hotel, the darkened door, the shadow in the chair, the path into the weeds—all common enough, in their way, yet totally strange, totally unknowable. The journey from one to the other is short, and the tin easily closed. That, at least, is a truth that Jeon and the rest of us share.
Diana Nicholette Jeon
“Nights as Inexorable as the Sea” is about dreams and memories. I have always been amazed when friends recount intricate details and entire storylines of their dreams; I barely ever remember mine. When I do, they are sifted down, becoming strictly minute fragments.
Dreams are quirky phenomena. While intricately connected with our own personal experiences they are also often unpredictable; confusing; exhilarating; frightening.
Every once in a while, for me, there is an exception. The times the gods are trying to communicate with me, and they haven’t been able to get my attention any other way than to hold me captive while I sleep . . . they tantalize my brain with something indelible, and on the rare instances this happens, I remember the imagery as vividly as if I had just lived it 5 minutes ago.
Asleep – existing in that liminal space – I am confronted with situations that I can’t quite explain, often fraught with absurdities and illogical occurrences. They challenge the delicate balance between my perception and my subconscious.
Mostly I find myself confused, holding a mere snippet in my head, as if it was a tear-off phone number ripped from a flyer that I held in my hand. Can I recall what I saw? Do I believe it? Was it really a dream, or was it a previously forgotten memory seeping through to my conscious mind? I can never be sure . . .
And check out “Altered Visions,” Jeon’s solo exhibition at the Honolulu Museum of Art at First Hawaiian Center, on view July – September this year.