In the sixteenth-century Chinese novel Journey to the West, the monk and his party go through a variety of tribulations, complete a great journey, and finally achieve the scriptures and fruition. Here in the farthest west, we are still “learning,” and the monk and his apprentices seem not to have any further news. What are they doing now?

The characters of the great American painter Edward Hopper are expressionless, pensive—as if they lead lonely and boring lives. Artist Xuefeng Li borrows Hopper’s schema for his fictional vision of the monk and his apprentices after their journey to the west. The photos were taken in Maershan, an abandoned village thirty kilometres from Shenyang, China. Once a magnificent plan, it has become a broken dream, where abandoned houses look lonely.

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