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Lee Mingwei: Uncommon Senses

Lee Mingwei: Uncommon Senses

6 December 2008 to 16 March 2009

Lee Mingwei, a leading artist on the international stage, presents Uncommon Senses at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery from 6 December 2008 to 16 March 2009.

For over a decade, Lee has played a pivotal role in expanding the terrain of what might be called ‘invitational aesthetics’ through his generous people-to-people participatory projects.

In this exhibition, curated by Gallery Director Rhana Devenport, Taiwan-born, New York-based Lee will present two projects informed by qualities of hospitality and the nature of home. This occasion marks the first significant presentation of Lee’s work in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Govett-Brewster Director Rhana Devenport says generosity and conversation are at the heart of Lee’s work as he offers scenarios and environments in which objects become ciphers or gestures for experiencing memory and shared understanding.

“Lee Mingwei’s elegant and contemplative installations provide a stage for interpersonal exchange inspired by ordinary human events or activities. His participatory installations, such as The Living Room Project, offer a fresh and intimate avenue to find meaning within museums today and register a new kind of contemporary art-making.”

Through The Living Room Project (2000-2008), the Govett-Brewster is turned inside-out. A relaxed space becomes temporary home for seldom-seen private collections to be revealed and shared. Each collector, drawn from throughout the wider Taranaki community, will present their collection in the Gallery for a fortnight. These collectors then become hosts/guides for a day as they share with visitors their passion for collecting and their chosen objects of personal or aesthetic value.

Lee’s second work, Nomad Exquisite (2008) is a new project conceived for the Govett-Brewster that harnesses early twentieth century classical music, video, the natural world as metaphor for human behaviour, and the artist’s abiding interests in architectural space and Ch’an Buddhist aesthetics. The proportions of the room refer to Tadao Ando’s theory of a restrained aesthetic within architecture; a simple, meditative space for living. A hermit crab (decapod crustacean) dances into view, it inhabits a delicate discarded shell that becomes a temporary but ideal home.

Lee has exhibited extensively in the US, Taiwan and Australia and has participated in the Venice Biennale, Whitney Biennial, Liverpool Biennial, Taipei Biennial, Asian Contemporary Art Biennial, Echigo-Tsumari Triennial and Asia-Pacific Triennial. Currently, Lee Mingwei is preparing for a solo exhibition at Edinburgh Festival 2009 and Smithsonian’s Freer & Sackler Galleries in 2009-2010.

The Living Room Project: The Collectors

Each collector will be available to talk about their collection in The Living Room on the first Saturday of each of their two week exhibition from 10am to 12noon and from 1pm to 3pm.

Dr John Valintine – Masks and carvings from Micronesia, West Africa and Canada
Friday 5 December – Thursday 18 December 2008
John will be in The Living Room on Saturday 6 December

Ruth Gaskin – Tea cosies
Friday 19 December – Wednesday 31 December 2008
Ruth will be in The Living Room on Saturday 20 December

Alistair Tong – Meccano
Thursday 1 January 2009 – Thursday 15 January 2009
Alistair will be in The Living Room on Saturday 3 January

Karen Eagles – Taranaki transferware
Friday 16 January 2009 – Thursday 29 January 2009
Karen will be in The Living Room on Saturday 17 January

Geetha N. Kutty – Indian saris, shawls & scarves & brassware from the Arabic states
Friday 30 January – Thursday 12 February 2009
Geetha will be in The Living Room on Saturday 31 January

Brian Wafer – LPs and Posters
Friday 13 February – Thursday 26 February 2009
Brian will be in The Living Room on Saturday 14 February

Rochelle Bertrand and Markus Gripp – Maori potatoes
Friday 27 February – Monday 16 March 2009
Rochelle and Markus will be in The Living Room on Saturday 28 February

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of:
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New Zealand
Council for Cultural Affairs, Taiwan

Also showing:

Len Lye: Chronosome
6 December 2008 to 16 March 2009

Liz Allan: How to dress for local conditions
6 December 2008 to 16 March 2009

Break: Towards a public realm
6 December 2008 to 1 February 2009

7 February 2009 to 29 March 2009

Image: Lee Mingwei The Living Room Project (2000 – 2008)


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