Critics’ Picks

View of “Lee Kit: You.,” 2014.

View of “Lee Kit: You.,” 2014.

Hong Kong

Lee Kit

Cattle Depot Artist Village
63 Mau Tau Kok Road
March 6–April 13, 2014

Over the last few years, Taipei-based Hong Kong artist Lee Kit has been expanding upon his preoccupations with painting, everyday life, the passage of time, the absurd, and the mundane. For “You.,” 2014, a large-scale installation mounted in a refurbished former slaughterhouse built in 1908, Lee has taken elements from his “You (you).” exhibition at the Fifty-Fifth Venice Biennale and has interwoven new paintings, videos, and sculptures.

A replica of a guard booth adorned with a beach umbrella sits at the main entrance of the exhibition space. It is empty; without a person inside, the object does not fulfill its intended objecthood. Another similar-style booth is indoors, containing a lawn chair, a vacuum flask, a plastic cup, and a tin of Nivea hand cream (an every day object that often pops up in Lee’s work). Lee positions mundane objects in an intentionally awkward fashion. In doing so, he produces a cognitive dissonance that forces the viewer to reexamine the act of seeing. One of the most compelling elements of the installation is what appears at first glance to be two paintings placed side by side, identical in content (a figure against a pastel-yellow background) but of different sizes. Upon more careful examination, one of the paintings is a physical object while the other is an image projected onto the wall. Lee challenges our perceptions of real and imagined, while introducing an underlying sense of angst and unrest in videos featuring laborious mundane tasks (painting fingernails, drying cutlery, rolling pieces of tape into little balls—acts of doing that yield very little satisfaction). In “You.,” he has taken his conceits further, all without losing a tone of playfulness and seeming irreverence, while unveiling the despair of everyday life.