San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, often invoked as an emblem of possibility and prosperity, stands also for despair: a suicide landmark. Vistas (2005) approaches this symbolic frontier, both of diaspora and the West, from three perspectives: ‘before’, ‘beside’, and ‘beyond’, over bay, strait, and ocean waters.
From an interior on the shore, the threshold, gateway and portal appears both concrete and elusive, at turns shadowy and solid. Shrouded by clouds or skimming sheet-metal waters, it recedes into a series of romantic skies, redolent of Whistler or Hollywood. A boat trip in the bay brings the hard structural edges into view, which dissolve as the image doubles and disappears. Beyond the bridge, the Pacific lies in wait, the placid waters seen from afar displaced by crashing waves.
Above images: susan pui san lok, Vistas, 2005, DVD triptych, 5 mins (stills) © the artist