Karen Lue 安詳 (or, when i die i want to die peacefully)

May 5–Aug 6, 2022
Silver Eye Center for Photography
Pittsburgh Presents
4808 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

After the passing of Karen Lue's paternal grandmother, her father and his siblings gathered in his hometown of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, in April 2018 to settle their parents' estate. With property values skyrocketing in China, their main goal was to sell her grandparents' apartment, which still contained most of their belongings.

In an attempt to process through her grandmother's death, her relationship with her father, and her family history, Lue wanted to record the apartment and its contents before her family no longer owned it. The series 安詳 (or, when i die i want to die peacefully) relays how the apartment looked in its final days and document the artist and her family before and after visiting her grandparents' tomb.

Lue is still grappling with how to reconcile the ocean-wide separation of her family, never having the opportunity to really know them, and how her family history and this separation have affected her father and ultimately herself. Consequently, Lue uses photography to explore aspects of identity in relation to concepts of grief, loss, isolation, and displacement.

This exhibition is part of Silver Eye's Pittsburgh Presents series, a year-round project to highlight the work of extraordinary artists and image-makers working in our community.

Participating Artist

  1. Karen Lue is a first-generation Chinese American artist whose photographs explore aspects of identity in relation to concepts of grief, loss, isolation, and displacement. Chronicling her own construction of identity beginning with the search for “home,” she looks for objects, people, and scenes that objectify feelings of irrelevance in environments that are supposed to function as spaces of shelter and refuge. She also examines her identity through self-portraiture and the body as it is shaped by her race, ethnicity, chronic illness, and mental well-being.