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Lee Kit: 1, 2, 3, 4…
Tina Yee-wan PANG
at 4:44pm on 14th May 2011

Photo credits: tinaypang ©Lee Kit 2011.

(原文以英文發表,評論香港藝術家李傑在紐約Lombard Freid Projects的展覽。)

Lee Kit’s first solo show in the United States at Lombard Freid Projects in New York’s Chelsea district is both a success and failure of translation. Continuing the conceptual framework of his previous, and in particular his most recent exhibition in Hong Kong at Osage gallery, the installation consists of his painted and used table cloths and sheets, framed photographs in which the life of the object and that of the artist converge, cardboard paintings, and an interactive space where viewers are theoretically invited to take tea. In practice, this is a space in which lyrics from a Carpenters’ song written onto the tablecloth puncture the silence of the gallery when read by the viewer.

The cardboard paintings are a triumph of artifice in simultaneously referencing the fact of the exhibition – they resemble closely the packaging made for paintings when they are transported – and their location, for one cannot escape the shift in context when these boxes are placed in such close proximity to the giants of Pop Art being shown thirty blocks uptown at the Museum of Modern Art, at a time when household brands as we know them today were coming into being.

Lee’s installations are episodes of youthful nostalgia, replayed and re-worked time and again. In the partial soundtrack to the exhibition, his is a narrative of romantic longing and of political innocence. The cardboard paintings tap into this nostalgia and longing. Lee explains his choice of brands as arising out of an obsession with skincare products, ‘I like to collect them and look at them, in particular Nivea and Johnson’s. I always associate them to somebody, or sometimes the product’s name repeats in my mind like I am missing someone.’ He ends his ‘artist’s statement’ with lyrics copied from two other songs: ‘A perfect ending for a perfect day,’ from Sunday by Sonic Youth, and ‘I can’t recall the day that I last heard from you,’ from Run by New Order.

Stripped of a sense of place, and without curatorial intervention, Lee’s exhibition is mediated almost entirely in his own words. Ultimately, in 1, 2, 3, 4… Lee seems to cast an extended gaze across his own constructed memories and conclude that they are not only unreliable, but also banal.

Exhibition: Lee Kit: 1, 2, 3, 4…
Date: 23.3. – 30.4.2011
Venue: Lombard Freid Projects, 519 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011

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