Lee Mingwei: Liquid Forms
29.05.2010 ¡V 27.06.2010
Private View and Reception: 28.05.2010, 6.00pm to 9.00pm

Curator: Eugene TAN

This first exhibition of Lee Mingwei in Hong Kong will feature a series of works by the New York-based artist, including a debut presentation of his latest work, Stone Journey. Lee Mingwei has continually focused on themes of trust and self-awareness in projects that create a potential for active exchange. Intrigued by parallels between art-making and prognostication, both of which draw on observation and intuition to reveal possibilities, Lee¡¦s relational projects test the limits of when and where such transformative experiences may take place, and has sensitively framed aspects of everyday life into experiences of potential discovery and renewal. In Stone Journey, Lee has replicated in bronze eleven stones he found on a glacier in New Zealand, stones which have been created by glacial movement some seventy million years ago. Presented in pairs, the bronze facsimiles alongside their natural originals, these works are attached with a pre-condition for their ownership, which is that the eventual owners of these stone pairs will have to decide when, where, how and which of them to discard. The Stone Journey thereby examines issues of ownership, control, value and loss. What does it mean to own something, either natural or manmade? And which stone is more precious, the natural stone or the one fabricated by the artist?

These issues of loss and memory are further explored in 100 days with Lily. Made when Lee was grieving the death of his grandmother, he planted a lily bulb and lived with it twenty-four hours a day for 100 days. Randomly chosen moments during each of the days are juxtaposed with images showing various stages of Lily¡¦s life and Lee¡¦s activities during this period. Apart from blurring and complicating the boundaries between art and everyday life, the choice of a lily plant for this work, with its associations to Zen and Buddhism, also reflects Lee¡¦s attachment to his cultural heritage, despite having immigrated to the United States from Taiwan when he was thirteen.

The Quartet Project further explores issues of distance derived from Lee¡¦s personal experience of a Taiwanese living in New York. The work centres around Antonin Dvo?ak¡¦s American Quartet of 1893, and reflects Dvo?ak¡¦s longing for his homeland in a foreign country. This work challenges viewers to replace their expected auditory experience with an audiovisual one, and by frustrating viewers¡¦ attempts at a closer examination of the work, it also highlights the notion of distance in perception. The Quartet Project engages with notions of completeness in the presence of absence and questions whether, in life or art, if nearness really the best for seeing and understanding the complete whole.

Private view and reception of the exhibition will be held on Friday, 28 May 2010 from 6.00pm to 9.00pm.