Lee Kit
Lovers on the Beach
04.09.2021 — 06.02.2022
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Lovers on the Beach
Lee Kit

04.09.2021 — 06.02.2022

West Den Haag has invited Lee Kit for his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands at the former American embassy. Lee works with object-based installations, and through his work alters our experience of light, sound, color and everyday objects. Lee activates an intimate dialogue with the most silent elements we spend most of our time with. His exhibition will bring to our attention nooks, corners and window-sills, or shelves with objects such as cups and containers. Although these elements and objects are familiar and mundane, when combined with sound echoing through the rooms with a soft soundtrack, they will suddenly speak to us in completely new ways.

Trained as a painter, Lee questioned how we see paintings in the traditional way. Believing painting to be more about the practice rather than its form, Lee moved away from the stretcher and its canvas. He started painting on everyday fabrics that later were used as tablecloths or even shower curtains. Lee is most known for his cloth paintings; he used them as a banner during Hong Kong’s protest marches; or for a picnic on the grass; a meal with friends; the communicative part of the work is as important as the actual object itself. Through painting repetitive forms Lee documented time and motion. This evoked him to take a further step, one that moved him into a different dimension expanding his work from paintings used as objects, into the rooms in which they are at use. He refers to them as ‘settings’, and these so called settings mostly consist of paintings, moving images, text and ready-made objects.‘These things come together slowly and organically’ he says, ‘the process is almost like when you make a big painting’.

When working site-specific Lee doesn’t necessarily connect to the cultural context of the exhibition. In his work he often focuses on more universal elements. The work seems to breathe the atmosphere of the space it is surrounded by. Therefore these works are never the same when shown somewhere else. In a similar way the work absorbs the gaze of the viewer. When he discovered his own shadow in one of the projections during the building up of a show, he concluded that the closer you get to the work the more we see of ourselves. Lee’s work asks for the unhurried reader. As Johannes Vermeer did in his paintings, Lee dwells on subtle daily domestic moments for which there is no time or space in an efficient, capitalist society. His work resists the compulsion to accelerate, thus serving not as an expression of pure emotion, but rather as an attitude, one with even political significance.

Lee’s practise is greatly influenced by coincidence, allowing this external factor to determine steps along the process of building his exhibitions. This is a fundamental thought in Lee’s practise, to stay open towards coincidence and in this way to train our sensibilities. His work seems open, loose, even casual, but there can be found an incredible relationship between every choice and every color. At West, he will slowly and subtly shift our focus from the atmosphere in the many rooms, to his personal reflections, and finally back to ourselves.

A new (free) publication by Lee Kit entitled ‘50 ways of installing an exhibition (and random stories)’ will accompany the exhibition.

Lee Kit (1978, Hong Kong) lives and works in Taipei, Taiwan. Selection of exhibitions; ‘No Soul For Sale’, Tate Modern, London, 2010; ‘The Wedding Banquet’, Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong, 2011; Sharjah Art Foundation, Beit al Serkal, UAE, 2012; ‘New Museum Triennial’ New Museum, New York, 2012; ‘You (you).ʼ, the 55th Venice Biennale, 2013; ‘Hold your breath, dance slowly’, The Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, USA, 2016; ‘A small sound in your head’, S.M.A.K, Ghent, 2016; ‘Not untitled’, ShugoArts, Tokyo, 2017; OCAT, Shenzhen, China, 2018; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 2018; Art Sonje Center, Seoul, 2019.