Co-presented by M+, Hong Kong’s new museum for visual culture at the West Kowloon Cultural District and The Hong Kong Arts Development Council, the solo exhibition ‘You (you.)’ by Hong Kong artist Lee Kit at the 55th Venice Biennale features a series of new commissions including sound, video and performance and ready-made objects.
Lee Kit’s exhibition ‘You (you).’ is a continuation of his exploration into the quotidian realm of the everyday. Comprised entirely of new commissions, the exhibition is formulated as a series of spatial reconfigurations that blend together and alternate between concealment and revelation.
Conceived through recollections of personal and collective moments and their associated emotions from a not-so-distant past, ‘You (you).’ takes the universal yet non-existing entity alluded to in its title as a point of departure, gazing at the notion of absence to reflect on the construction of places, memories and time. Lee distils and translates these fleeting moments into forms of visual articulation, shedding light on their inherent ‘endlessness’ which transcends our perception of time.
Shifting across a diverse range of media, Lee’s practice is deeply rooted in his personal surroundings and experience. Trained as a painter at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, he soon began to move away from representational tendencies and the limitations of the traditional stretched canvas, which has long been central to Western art. Lee reduced the act of painting to a network of repetitive lines and squares on fabrics, repositioning the process itself as a personal and emotive form of documenting the passage of time. These hand-painted fabrics were then turned into and used as ordinary functional items, such as tablecloths, curtains and picnic blankets, thus introducing the essentially private outcomes into the public sphere.
‘You (you).’ operates within the same framework as Lee’s sparse yet intimate installations, incorporating moving image, performance, ready-made objects, found images and lighting to form and suggest traces of immaterialised dialogues and relationships. The various elements within the installations, which appear to have been randomly placed, have in fact been meticulously arranged to recall the qualities of painterly composition. The exhibition also further propels Lee’s approach of employing repetitive gestures, mundane objects and other ephemeral materials, such as sound, to function as emotive and sensory triggers, affording viewers the possibility of evoking the textures of both real and imagined memories.
About the artist
Born in Hong Kong in 1978, Lee Kit currently lives and works in Hong Kong and Taipei. Shifting across a diverse range of media, Lee’s practice is deeply rooted in his personal surroundings and experience. Trained as a painter at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, he soon began to move away from representational tendencies and the limitations of stretched canvas, reducing the act of painting to a network of repetitive lines and squares. His recent installations combine different objects, images and mediums to form sparse yet intimate settings that suggest traces of immaterialised relationships.
His recent solo exhibitions include ‘Every breath you take.’, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2012), ‘House M’, The Pavilion, Beijing, China (2012), ‘Henry (Have you ever been this low?)’, Western Front, Vancouver, Canada (2011), ‘1, 2, 3, 4…’, Lombard Freid Projects, New York, U.S.A. (2011), ‘Well, that’s just a chill.’, ShugoArts, Tokyo, Japan (2010), ‘Someone singing and calling your name’, Osage Gallery, Hong Kong (2009), ‘Remains from several days’, Mori Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2008) and ‘¾ suggestions for a better living’, Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong (2007). He has also participated in numerous international group exhibitions such as ‘What should I do to live in your life?’, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE (2012), ‘Trading Futures’, Taipei Contemporary Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan (2012), ‘Print/Out’, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (2012), ‘The Ungovernables’, The New Museum, New York, USA (2012), ‘No Soul For Sale’, Tate Modern, London, UK (2010), ‘Platform in Kimusa’, Seoul, South Korea (2009), ‘Sprout from White Nights’, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden (2008), ‘Farewell to Post-Colonialism’, The 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2008) and ‘Pearl River City’, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania (2007). Lee is the recipient of the Art Futures Award at ArtHK in 2012. His works are collected by a number of public and private collections worldwide, including Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst and the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
M+ is the new museum for visual culture in Hong Kong, as part of West Kowloon Cultural District, focusing on 20th and 21st century art, design, architecture and moving image. M+ is set to develop content from a Hong Kong perspective with a global vision. It is a project with a strong public service ethos, not primarily envisioned as a prestigious venture or a tourist project, but fundamentally as a museum for the more than seven million people living and working in Hong Kong, firmly rooted in the location and its unique culture.
While this goal is by no means unique compared to that of many museums around the world, the cultural ecology which M+ is part of has other traditions, histories and experiences than those that engendered today’s leading museums. By presenting its collection in innovative ways through rich and diverse exhibition and education programmes, the future M+ building (scheduled for completion at the end of 2017) will be the optimal meeting point for various parties with exceedingly disparate requirements, encouraging enhanced audience participation and dialogue between different forms of visual culture, and cultures of “looking”. The building, therefore, for now and the foreseeable future, remains to be the museum’s main tool. Its symbolic significance is greater than ever especially with the cultural genres growing ever more fluid and mutant.
About the exhibition
Exhibition period: 1.6 – 24.11.2013
Opening hours: Tuesdays – Sundays, 10:00am – 6:00pm
Closed on Mondays (except the first and last week of the exhibition)
Venue: Castello 2126, Campo della Tana (Opposite the main entrance of Arsenale)
Curators: Lars Nittve with Yung Ma, M+
Dr Lars NITTVE
Executive Director, M+
West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Hong Kong
Born 1953 in Stockholm, Nittve is currently the Executive Director of M+ in Hong Kong. After studies at the Stockholm School of Economics, a M.A. at Stockholm University and Post Graduate Studies at New York University, he served as lecturer in art history at the University of Stockholm (1978-85). During the same period he held a post as senior art critic at the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, and contributed regularly to Artforum.
Nittve was appointed chief curator at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1986. He served as the founding Director of Rooseum – Center for Contemporary Art in Malmö, Sweden (1990-1995). In July 1995, Dr Nittve became the Director of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark, where he also curated the groundbreaking exhibition ‘Sunshine & Noir – Art in L.A. 1960-1997’ and the first solo exhibition of Cai Guo Qiang outside Asia. In 1998, he was named the first Director of Tate Modern, London, which opened in May 2000 to great acclaim. In November 2001, he returned to Moderna Museet in Stockholm as Director. Since January 2011, Nittve has been with the West Kowloon Cultural District as the Executive Director of M+, the museum for visual culture in Hong Kong.
Assistant Curator, M+
West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Hong Kong
Born 1979 in Shanghai, Ma is currently assistant curator at M+ in Hong Kong. He was the gallery manager at Art Statements Gallery and the assistant curator at Para/Site Art Space, both in Hong Kong. He was also the assistant curator and project manager of Pak Sheung Chuen’s solo exhibition ‘Making (Perfect) Word: Harbour, Hong Kong, Alienated Cities and Dreams’ at the 53rd International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. In 2011, he was the guest curator of A Wedding, an exhibition and event featuring works from over 100 international artists co-organised by Para/Site Art Space and Vitamin Creative Space, and co-curator of The Visionary Trading Project at Guest Projects in London. Ma also contributes regularly to a number of publications and exhibition catalogues. He holds a M.A. in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art and a B.A. in Fine Art and Japanese from the University of Reading.
M+, Museum for Visual Culture,
West Kowloon Cultural District &
Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Courtesy of the artist and M+, for further information please visit www.venicebiennale.hk.