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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Lee Kit

b. 1978, China

Born in Hong Kong and now based in Taipei, Lee Kit (李杰)'s trans-disciplinary practice incorporates painting, moving-image and readymade objects along with other intangible elements such as light and sound to create poetic reflections on his everyday surroundings and experiences.

Lee's ongoing 'Hand-painted cloth' series originated in 2001 during his training as a painter at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and was critical in his stylistic development. The works consist of fabrics covered with repetitive lines. After painting the fabrics by hand, Lee brings them into the public sphere as functional items such as tablecloths, curtains or picnic blankets. In Sunday Afternoon: Picnic with friends and hand-painted cloth at Yung Shu O, Sai Kung (2003), for instance, photo documentation shows a picnic taking place on one of said fabrics, providing a marker of the fabric's public existence, which in this case came after a long period of government-encouraged indoor seclusion from the SARS epidemic.

Over the years, Lee's practice has expanded to include object-based installations, arranged in a seemingly haphazard fashion to create what the artist calls 'settings'. Exemplary of this was You (you)—Lee's presentation for the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. A blue office carpet covered the Hong Kong pavilion's floor, with domestic objects such as a vacuum cleaner, a bucket and an unplugged hairdryer placed throughout. The objects were individually familiar, yet became uncanny in their arbitrary placement—an evocation of the title, which calls to mind the abstract yet simultaneously concrete experience of looking at oneself in the mirror. The domestic items in You (you) granted viewers a sense of familiarity, lending an intimate dimension to the work.

Much of Lee's practice is about conveying an internal state—whether of loss, sadness or boredom. As such, there is a universal quality to his works. In what the artist calls his most important work, Scratching the table surface (2006-11), the forbiddance of smoking indoors resulted in Lee scratching a table-top with his finger whilst feeling equal parts happy, sad and nervous—a coming-together of emotions. What ensued was a three-year action of carving a hole out of the table with his finger and posting 300 letters to friends informing them of the activity. The table was included in A small sound in your head (28 May-4 September 2016) at S.M.A.K. in Ghent—the artist's first institutional solo exhibition in Europe.

Parallel to the exhibition at S.M.A.K was Kit's solo show Hold your breath, dance slowly at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (12 May-9 October 2016). The exhibition included I can't help falling in love (2012), a 13-channel video installation in which each television showed footage including branded products and text hinting at Hong Kong's omnipresent market capitalism. The exhibition also included a number of Lee's object-based installations consisting of everyday objects in muted colours and subtly-toned paintings, onto which swathes of light were cast from projectors—devices that often feature in his works. The pixels in the projected light provided a textural quality to Lee's installations that—in their careful composition and subtle, muted colours—can be seen as an expansion of Lee's formal training as a painter.

Kit was shortlisted for the 2013 Hugo Boss and Rockbund Art Museum Asia Art Prize and has participated in a number of major solo and group shows, including at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2018); the Sharjah Biennial (2015); the New Museum Triennial, New York (2012); and the Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum (2012).

Tessa Moldan | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Evangeline by Lee Kit contemporary artwork Lee KitEvangeline, 2019 Acrylic, emulsion paint, correction fluid on cardboard
55.5 x 47 cm
Piano song by Lee Kit contemporary artwork Lee KitPiano song, 2017 Acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink and pencil on cardboard
34 x 25 cm
No More Shall We Part by Lee Kit contemporary artwork Lee KitNo More Shall We Part, 2016 Acrylic on papers, projection
‘It’s sad to be a piece of work.’ by Lee Kit contemporary artwork Lee Kit‘It’s sad to be a piece of work.’, 2017 Acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink on cardboard
25 x 34 cm
Kao Bleach by Lee Kit contemporary artwork Lee KitKao Bleach, 2012 Acrylic, emulsion paint and inkjet ink on acid-free board
79.8 x 96.7 x 2 cm
Untitled by Lee Kit contemporary artwork Lee KitUntitled, 2018 Acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink, pencil and color pencil on cardboard
69 x 56 cm
This is the way, step inside by Lee Kit contemporary artwork Lee KitThis is the way, step inside, 2016 Installation, acrylic on canvas, looped projection. Dimensions variable
A girl in a gallery by Lee Kit contemporary artwork Lee KitA girl in a gallery, 2017 Acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink, pencil and correction fluid on plywood
57 x 66 cm
Para Site

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, The ShugoArts Show at ShugoArts, Tokyo
16 February–6 April 2019 Group Exhibition The ShugoArts Show ShugoArts, Tokyo
Contemporary art exhibition, Lee Kit, 'We used to be more sensitive' at ShugoArts, Tokyo
16 September–24 December 2018 Lee Kit 'We used to be more sensitive' ShugoArts, Tokyo
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Crush at Para Site, Hong Kong
15 September–25 November 2018 Group Exhibition Crush Para Site, Hong Kong

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Lee Kit Ocula Conversation Lee Kit Artist

Lee Kit creates meditative installations—or 'situations', as the artist frequently calls them—by bringing together intangible elements, such as light and sound, with painting, moving image, and readymade objects. These situations often comprise paintings upon which light is cast from a projector, creating a visual experience more...

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The Art You Missed During Art Basel in Hong Kong Ocula Report The Art You Missed During Art Basel in Hong Kong 24 Mar 2015 : Sam Gaskin for Ocula

One local gallery manager described it as constipation: Hong Kong holds in its art activities all year before forcing everything out in the week that Art Basel comes to town. The fair alone is like a system of intestines: unraveled, the paths visitors have to walk to see all the works would stretch for kilometers. There is also a huge amount of...

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Lee Kit Ocula Conversation Lee Kit Artist, China

The Lee Kit exhibition, You., shown recently the Cattle Depot Artist Village in Hong Kong, was an expanded adaptation of his solo presentation for Hong Kong at the 55th Venice Biennale. The Venice presentation, entitled You (you)., received international critical acclaim and Lee was touted by the Wall Street Journal as ‘one of the five...

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Alan Lo Ocula Conversation Alan Lo Chairman, Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, Hong Kong

Active in promoting art and design in Hong Kong, Alan Lo is the Chairman of Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, sits on the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, and was a member of Art HK’s advisory group.  Lo is also a co-founder and director of Hong Kong-based Press Room Group, owner and operator of various well-known restaurants and...

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In Related Press

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The Enormous Space Related Press The Enormous Space ArtAsiaPacific : 1 March 2018

In 1989, British author JG Ballard published The Enormous Space, a short story about Gerald Ballantyne, a man who withdraws from the world and fortifies himself in his abode, not due to agoraphobia but to 'experiment' with reducing his immediate environment to nothing but his house, committing what is in effect a slow suicide. OCAT Shenzhen's...

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10 Highlights from the inaugural Kathmandu Triennale 2017 Related Press 10 Highlights from the inaugural Kathmandu Triennale 2017 Art Radar Journal : 10 April 2017

The Kathmandu Triennale is an event developed on the back of past success of the Kathmandu International Art Festival, held in 2009 and 2012. The inaugural edition of Kathmandu Triennale (KT 2017) takes ‘The City’ as a thematic starting point – a catalyst to explore the many socio-cultural and political issues embedded in urban settings. Francis...

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Lee Kit at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Related Press Lee Kit at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Art in America : 11 November 2016

“Who sees me naked, and who spends time alone with me in the bathroom? Johnson & Johnson. Nivea.” This is how Lee Kit, Hong Kong’s representative at the 2013 Venice Biennale, discusses the personal hygiene product logos in the paintings that unassumingly populated his Walker exhibition, Hold your breath, dance slowly: as...

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Introducing the Apollo 40 under 40 Asia Pacific Related Press Introducing the Apollo 40 under 40 Asia Pacific Apollo : 1 September 2016

Who are the people under 40 making waves in the art world? That was the question we asked ourselves in 2014, when we launched the first Apollo 40 Under 40. That year’s list, which focused on Europe, and the subsequent 40 Under 40 USA, weren’t meant as power lists but as surveys of talent: of young people who have firmly established...

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