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The London-based artist and filmmaker will present a new commission inspired by artificial intelligence and the Buddhist goddess of mercy, Guanyin, at the fair in October.

Lawrence Lek Receives Frieze London Artist Award 2024

Lawrence Lek. Courtesy the artist.

Frieze has selected Malaysian-born artist Lawrence Lek for its sixth Frieze London Artist Award, which provides an early or mid-career artist the chance to debut a new work.

Lek will present the multimedia installation Guanyin: Confessions of a Former Carebot, which will integrate a mechanical sculpture into an immersive video game environment. In Lek's telling, the Chinese goddess is a cyborg therapist tasked with saving other artificial intelligences from self-destruction.

Guanyin, literally 'the one who listens' is sometimes depicted with 1,000 arms with which to help those in need. Modelled on 'walking simulators', the player in Lek's game follows Guanyin as she examines Vanguard, a self-driving car flagged for problematic behaviour.

The work is an evolution of previous projects, such as Sinofuturism (1839–2046AD) (2016) and Geomancer (2017), that incorporated artificial intelligences as the protagonists in sci-fi narratives.

Speaking to Ocula in 2018, Lek said, 'You have to find opportunities to push things a bit further, and bring things together, which you have to make happen in a roundabout way.'

'We eagerly anticipate Lek's commission which, in synthesising diverse media to approach wider ideas around the future of AI, will provide a compelling moment for Frieze audiences this October,' said the fair's director, Eva Langret.

Lek's proposal was selected by a jury including Langret, curator Canan Batur, Artangel director Miriam Zulfiqar, and Forma's artistic director Chris Rawcliffe.

Previous Frieze London Artists Award recipients include Adham Faramawy (2023), Abbas Zahedi (2022), and Sung Tieu (2021). Frieze London will take place in The Regent's Park from 9 to 13 October 2024. —[O]

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