The photographs are greying the way memory does.
     Lee Ka-sing has titled his photograph(s) “Old Flames,” which makes it immediately ambiguous as to whether the repeated wave-motion image was meant to represent, in a stylized, calligraphic way, the flames themselves or their aftermath as smoke.
     What are “old flames”?  Old passions?  Love affairs that has misplaced their smouldering energies and gone out?  Or simply physical flames that once were, that leapt up from a match, that sizzled from one burning thing to another and were now exhausted?
     In what remains the best study ever written about fire, Gaston Bachelard’s The Psychoanalysis of Fire (Beacon Press, 1964), the French philosopher (1884-1963)  characterized fire early on in his book as “that striking immediate object.” In these photographs, there is no immediate object.  Only recession.  Immediate thoughts, perhaps, about what immediacy was.  There is a beautiful song from Jerome Kern’s 1933 musical Roberta, that insists that “when the lovely flame dies, smoke gets in your eyes.”
     These two graphic exhibits—the same object twice, one more distant from us than the other—are like hunks of flotsam bobbing and washing on the brimming sea. They carry—like passengers on magic carpets, like tattoos etched onto the waiting body—exported recollections of both wave motion and flame motion and smoke motion.  We look at the photographs and, in the act of looking, we are saying goodbye to all that uproar.