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b. 1978, SAR, China

Lee Kit Biography

Born in Hong Kong and now based in Taipei, the trans-disciplinary practice of Lee Kit (李杰) 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.

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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 space. 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 SMAK in Ghent—the artist's first institutional solo exhibition in Europe.

Parallel to the exhibition at SMAK 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

Lee Kit Featured Artworks

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Shave it carefully by Lee Kit contemporary artwork
Lee KitShave it carefully, 2018Acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink and pencil on plywood
51 x 69.5 cm
ShugoArts Contact Gallery
The Darkness is not the sky by Lee Kit contemporary artwork
Lee KitThe Darkness is not the sky, 2017Acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink and pencil on cardboard
41.5 x 32 x 3 cm
ShugoArts Contact Gallery
Soul Bowl, 2016 (For Parkett 98) by Lee Kit contemporary artwork
Lee KitSoul Bowl, 2016 (For Parkett 98), 2016Installation with photograph (archival print, framed) and towel
Parkett Contact Gallery
1 & 2 by Lee Kit contemporary artwork
Lee Kit1 & 2, 2019Acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink and pencil on canvas
TKG+ Contact Gallery
Piano song by Lee Kit contemporary artwork
Lee KitPiano song, 2017Acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink and pencil on cardboard
34 x 25 cm
AIKE Contact Gallery
A girl in a gallery by Lee Kit contemporary artwork
Lee KitA girl in a gallery, 2017Acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink, pencil and correction fluid on plywood
57 x 66 cm
Not for sale
Para Site
The voice of a daydreamer by Lee Kit contemporary artwork
Lee KitThe voice of a daydreamer, 2016Acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet ink, pencil and correction fluid on plywood
40.5 x 30.5 cm
Jane Lombard Gallery Contact Gallery
Sweet Choice by Lee Kit contemporary artwork
Lee KitSweet Choice, 2010Acrylic, emulsion paint, inkjet and pencil on acid-free board.
38 x 44 cm
Not for sale
Duddell's

Lee Kit Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, ShugoArts Show at ShugoArts, Tokyo
Closed
8 February–4 April 2020 Group Exhibition ShugoArts Show ShugoArtsTokyo
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhbition, ShugoArts Show at ShugoArts, Tokyo
Closed
2–22 November 2019 Group Exhbition ShugoArts Show ShugoArtsTokyo
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Show, Café do Brasil at Para Site, Hong Kong
Closed
13 September–24 November 2019 Group Show Café do Brasil Para SiteHong Kong

Lee Kit Represented By

AIKE contemporary art gallery in Shanghai, China AIKE Shanghai
ShugoArts contemporary art gallery in Tokyo, Japan ShugoArts Tokyo

Lee Kit In Ocula Magazine

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Exhibitions to See in Hong Kong Ocula Report Exhibitions to See in Hong Kong By Tessa Moldan, Hong Kong

As Hong Kong gradually opens up after months of lockdown, this lowdown provides a selection of exhibitions taking place throughout the summer.

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Lyon Biennale 2019: The Art of Dispersal Ocula Report Lyon Biennale 2019: The Art of Dispersal By Tessa Moldan, Lyon

'The places where water comes together with other water. Those places stand out in my mind like holy places.' This excerpt from a poem by American writer Raymond Carver is the somewhat florid departure for Là où les eaux se mêlent, the 15th Lyon Biennale (18 September 2019–5 January 2019)—a materially rich exhibition of works by around 50...

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Art Jakarta Drops Anchor in a Stormy Southeast Asian Art Market Ocula Report Art Jakarta Drops Anchor in a Stormy Southeast Asian Art Market By Sam Gaskin, Jakarta

Jakarta may be sinking, prompting the announcement last month that Indonesia will create a new capital on the island of Borneo, but the city's longest-running art fair is on the rise. Founded by the license holder of Harper's Bazaar Indonesia, the fair began as Bazaar Art Jakarta in 2008. While it's still owned by the same holding company, MRA...

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Lee Kit Ocula Conversation Lee Kit By Atsuo Yasuda, Tokyo

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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Lee Kit In Related Press

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

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 10 April 2017, Art Radar Journal

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 11 November 2016, Art in America

“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 1 September 2016, Apollo

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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