Lee Mingwei "Visible, Elusive"

Shiseido Gallery

poster for Lee Mingwei "Visible, Elusive"

This event has ended.

New York-based Taiwan-born artist Lee Mingwei's first solo exhibition in Japan

Lee Mingwei was born in Taichung, Taiwan in 1964. From 1989 to 1993 he studied textile arts at the California College of Arts. In 1997 he received an MFA in sculpture from the Graduate School of Fine Arts at Yale University. In 1998 he earned his first art world accolades with a solo show, Way Stations, at New York's Whitney Museum. In 1999 he participated in the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, and since has been active internationally, exhibiting his work at the MOMA in New York and in the Taiwan Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003, and at the 18th Sydney Biennale in 2012.

Lee's works can be divided broadly into “events” that draw viewers into one-on-one dialogs, and participation-style installations. In his 1997 debut work in New York, The Dining Project, he treated guests selected from among the visitors to after-hours dinners in the museum, dining with them one-on-one within a space he had set up, seeking to use the everyday act of sharing a meal as a way to establish communication with complete strangers. In a different direction, in 2009 at the Lyon Biennale in France, he first presented "The Moving Garden", an installation in which visitors were invited to take one of the fresh flowers Lee had arranged in the space with them when they left the museum, with the condition that they would agree to make a detour from their intended route and, along this detour, to give the flower to a stranger. Both of these works encouraged visitors to consider issues like interpersonal trust relationships, intimacy and self awareness, but the former sought participation with Lee himself in everyday activities like eating, sleeping, walking and conversing, while the latter made visitors the subject and entrusted them to be the main actors. Airily sweeping away the boundaries between art and the everyday, such interactive works encouraging the active participation of visitors created a stir in our current age in which existing conventional values are breaking down and new kinds of relationship-creation are being tested and assessed.

For "Fabric of Memory" in this current exhibition, Lee has solicited examples of handmade fabric items from the general public and asked their owners to write short texts about the memories associated with them. These he will place inside wooden boxes in the gallery and invite visitors to come open them and inspect their contents. The origin of this idea, Lee says, was his own experience, as a child, finding the courage to go off to his first day of kindergarten in a jacket that his mother had sewn for him. Lee first presented this work at the Tate Liverpool as part of the Liverpool Biennale in 2006, and also once again in 2007 in Taiwan at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei. In both cases the fabric items came from local people, enhancing the sense of regionality of the work. This current iteration offers a Japanese version, with Lee selecting sixteen items and their accompanying stories from the many that were publicly solicited via the Shiseido website. This exhibition will also include "The Letter Writing Project", in which visitors are encouraged to write and leave letters behind. Further, Lee will also present "100 Days with Lily", a photographic chronicle of 100 days he spent living with a potted narcissus lily, intended as an offering of grief toward his departed grandmother.

Lee's exhibition will be completed by the personal and individual involvement of all those visiting the gallery over the duration.

Over “time”, people's relationships to their memories and feelings change endlessly. Lee's exhibition, presenting the Shiseido Gallery's first truly viewer participation-style works, focuses on how difficult these are to pin down, and how very fragile they are.

Talk Event (in English with consecutive Japanese interpretation)
September 2 (Sun), 14:00-15:30
Max. 60 persons
Entry: Free
Venue: WORD Shiseido, Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building 9th Floor
Please apply via the gallery website by August 26 (Sun)



From 2012-08-28 To 2012-10-21


Lee Mingwei



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