Philistines will react to the recent work of Lee Kit (李傑) in a predictable way: That’s not art, you might hear them say. Or, that looks like my living room. But these superficial responses to Not Swinging (沒有擺動), his five-part onsite installation currently on view at Project Fulfill Art Space, miss the mark. Lee says the exhibition’s title refers to the mood change that occurs within the first few minutes after you arrive home and flick on the light. Entering the gallery space, which has been reconfigured as a homey environment, presumably allows the viewer to experience this emotional transition.
Lee, a Hong Kong native who represents the city at this year’s Venice Biennial (which ends Nov. 24), and who calls Taipei his second home, assembles diverse media to create the gallery-size installation that he says is rooted in the minutiae of his own experiences. Similar to his Venice installation, Not Swinging incorporates found objects, ready-mades, bric-a-brac, furniture, music and lighting to create a dialogue amongst these disparate elements. In so doing, Lee also seeks to evoke memories and associations in the viewer’s mind, the quotidian serving as a trigger for the imagination, where entering the tangible space of the gallery enables viewers to be transported into their own imaginary domestic bliss.
Yet it’s the very quotidian nature of the objects displayed that creates a somewhat sterile environment, making it difficult for them to evoke any form of personalized experience for the viewer. And unlike the Venice installation, which was housed in a structure that resembles more the interior of Taipei’s older apartment buildings than Project Fulfill’s swanky space. This made it difficult for this reviewer to suspend his judgment long enough to allow for that spark of imagination necessary to transport him to that emotional state that feelings of domesticity can inspire.
In a phone interview yesterday with the Taipei Times, hours before he jetted off to Switzerland for a talk, Lee said the installation reflects his sense of dislocation due to constant travel. “I rarely stay in one place for longer than two weeks,” he says. The installation, then, is a response to an existence that is to a large degree marked by impersonal and repetitive environments that have made up the artist’s life over the past two years, ones that leave him longing for that personal space called home.
Still, he quips, “I like hotel rooms.”
Perhaps hotels and other public/private spaces have become Lee’s domestic frame of reference. Regardless, though he may be on the road most of the time, this exhibition suggests that he remains preoccupied with the idea of home, wherever and whatever that may be.
■ Project Fulfill Art Space (就在藝術空間), 2, Alley 45, Ln 147, Xinyi Rd Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市信義路三段147巷45弄2號), tel: (02) 2707-6942. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 1pm to 7pm. On the Net: www.pfarts.com
■ Until Sept. 29