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Leelee Chan. Courtesy of Art Basel.

Leelee Chan Named Next BMW Art Journey Award Winner

Art Basel and BMW announced today that Hong Kong–based artist Leelee Chan is the next BMW Art Journey winner. Known for her mixed-media works and sculptures made from dumpster detritus and household ephemera and inspired by her experiences with urbanization in Hong Kong, Leelee Chan was selected for her project “Tokens From Time.” She plans on visiting various destinations in Europe, Japan, and the Americas to learn ancient craftsmanship techniques using copper, silver, and marble, among other materials. She will also consult with scientists to understand how these natural materials may be substituted by synthetic materials in the future.

“Leelee Chan’s journey spans across time and space to consider the stories of materials, including metal, stone and crystals, and explore how they have shaped our human experience,” the jury said in a statement. “From ancient crystal caves in Mexico to marble workshops in Italy to high-tech synthetic quartz factories in Japan, the artist plans to investigate materials with the help of experts and craft practitioners, both as a source of raw material and as an inspiration for reflection. We were impressed by how Leelee Chan engages with materials that are charged with needs, values, and ideas, to ask what it means to be a sculptor working today and tomorrow.”

Leelee Chan was selected from a shortlist of three artists who are represented by galleries originally accepted into this year’s Art Basel show in Hong Kong by an international jury comprising Claire Hsu, director of Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Matthias Mühling, director of Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich; Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, president of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Philip Tinari, director of UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; and Samson Young, artist and winner of the first BMW Art Journey. The other finalists for the award included Jes Fan and Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho.

Commenting on being chosen for the award, the artist said, “Material objects have always been at the core of my practice. The journey will allow me to dig much deeper by discovering new processes, by encountering the people who work with them in their everyday lives, and, thereby, to make them meaningful for me as a sculptor working in this current uncertain moment.” 

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