b. 1984, Hong Kong

Leelee Chan Biography

Winner of the 2020 BMW Art Journey Award, Leelee Chan is a sculptor and installation artist. She is highly regarded for her adventurous use of recycled objects, transforming abandoned detritus into objects worthy of care and love by blending them with industrial or natural components, and designing them to be meticulously installed in galleries.

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Early Years

Born in Hong Kong, Chan's parents ran an antique shop that whetted her appetite for looking closely at a variety of crafted objects. Her tertiary education however was at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, where with her MFA (2009), she concentrated on painting. An earlier BFA (2006) was at the School of Art Institute in Chicago.

In New York, her studio practice alternated between painting and sculpture but when she returned to Hong Kong in 2016, sculpture, with a physical presence in real space, became a priority at the suggestion of one of her teachers.

Leelee Chan Artworks

While exploring the location of her Hong Kong studio, which was positioned in a densely inhabited industrial area, Leelee Chan discovered dumpsters full of detritus that intrigued her—especially as many of the manufacturing plants had relocated to mainland China. This waste she sifted through, selected, and hoarded, to be recombined later after much scrutiny and intermittent contemplation. Examples, such as these with plastic pallets, include Hazy Blue Silhouette (2021), Nocturnal Encounter (2021), and Circuit (Jasper Green) (2021).

Despite her early interest in painting, Chan's reputation is based on her conceptually complex sculptures, such as those based on normally abandoned by-products like core samples from sedimentary geological drilling, including Barnacles (2019). These demonstrate her interest in the compression of time. In Present Relics (2020), Chan carefully arranges a group of ceramic shards that appear to be Ming dynasty fragments, or else poetically mixes them with other dramatically different materials, from nature or from industry, as in The Grip (2020) and Performer #1 (2021).

Chan's ongoing projects incorporate researching the traditional skills of marble and quartz crystal carving and copper and silver foundries. After winning the 2020 BMW Art Journey Award, Chan embarked on a project that involved visiting world-renowned mines and quarries in Mexico, Spain, and Italy to study their artisan technologies, social relationships, and histories.

Exhibitions

Leelee Chan has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.

Solo exhibitions include Leelee Chan, Capsule Shanghai (2022) and Core Sample, Capsule Shanghai (2019).

Group exhibitions include Solid Ground, Para Site, Hong Kong (2021); Poetic Heritage, Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (2021); Organs Underground, M Woods Museum x Plate Space, Beijing (2020); KölnSkulptur #10, Skulpturenpark Köln, Cologne (2020); How Do We Begin: X Museum Triennial 1st Edition, X Museum, Beijing (2020); Up close – Hollywood Road, Gallery 149 and Bonnie Lai Antiquities, Hong Kong (2020); Holy Mosses, Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong (2019); Hysteresis, Downs & Ross, New York (2019); and Scaffolds of Meaning, Mine Project, Hong Kong (2019).

Her work is held in the collections of Skulpturenpark Köln, Cologne; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; and JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, Hong Kong.

Website and Instagram

The artist's website can be found here, and her Instagram here.

John Hurrell | Ocula | 2022

Leelee Chan
featured artworks

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Blindfold Receptor (Crawling Jewel–Moss III) by Leelee Chan contemporary artwork sculpture
Leelee Chan Blindfold Receptor (Crawling Jewel–Moss III), 2023 Glass, marble wheels and rollers, stainless-steel hardware, 3D- printed resin components, agate powder, pigment and stainless-steel base
31.2 x 152 x 31.8 cm
Capsule Shanghai Request Price & Availability
Blindfold Receptor (Crawling Jewel–Moss II) by Leelee Chan contemporary artwork sculpture
Leelee Chan Blindfold Receptor (Crawling Jewel–Moss II), 2023 Glass, marble wheels and rollers, stainless-steel hardware, 3D- printed resin components, agate powder, pigment and stainless-steel base
31.2 x 189 x 31.8 cm
Capsule Shanghai Request Price & Availability
Blindfold Receptor (Crawling Jewel–Moss I) by Leelee Chan contemporary artwork sculpture
Leelee Chan Blindfold Receptor (Crawling Jewel–Moss I), 2023 Glass, marble wheels and rollers, stainless-steel hardware, 3D- printed resin components, agate powder, pigment and stainless-steel base
31.2 x 243 x 31.8 cm
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Capsule Shanghai
Dark Light, Subterranean Circuit by Leelee Chan contemporary artwork sculpture
Leelee Chan Dark Light, Subterranean Circuit, 2023 Found plastic shipping pallets, hand-carved golden obsidian, yellow-zinc plated wheels, calcite, electroplated stainless steel sheet and mirror, 3D-printed metal parts, epoxy, Jesmonite, urethane resi

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Capsule Shanghai
Lithic Current by Leelee Chan contemporary artwork sculpture
Leelee Chan Lithic Current, 2023 Found plastic shipping pallets, found polystyrene foam packaging, yellow zinc-plated wheel, Unakite, metal sheet, plastic flowers, Jesmonite, stainless steel hardware, epoxy
154 x 83 x 17 cm
Capsule Shanghai Request Price & Availability
Moth by Leelee Chan contemporary artwork sculpture
Leelee Chan Moth, 2023 Found plastic shipping pallets, petrified wood, stainless steel hardware, epoxy, pigmen
113 x 12 x 28 cm
Capsule Shanghai Request Price & Availability
Moth (Blinded Sphinx) by Leelee Chan contemporary artwork sculpture
Leelee Chan Moth (Blinded Sphinx), 2023 Found plastic shipping pallets, petrified wood, stainless steel hardware, epoxy, pigment
115.5 x 12.5 x 28.5 cm
Capsule Shanghai Request Price & Availability
Performer #1 by Leelee Chan contemporary artwork sculpture
Leelee Chan Performer #1, 2020 Broken pottery tomb figure head from Ming dynasty (1300–1600 AD), polystyrene foam, seashell, artificial flower, fiberglass, resin, pigment, and metal stand
14 x 5.7 x 5.7 cm
Asia Art Archive
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Leelee Chan
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exhibitions

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Represented by this
Ocula Member Gallery

Capsule Shanghai contemporary art gallery in Shanghai, China
Capsule Shanghai Shanghai, Venice
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Leelee Chan in
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