Rediscovering Intimacy: Lee Mingwei and his relations - Art Collector

Lee Mingwe, The Dining Project, installation view, 2015. Courtesy: the artist and Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei

By Jason Chung Tang Yen

Sleeping, dining and mending fragmented garments, yes you are inside a museum. From 30 May untill September 6, visitors of the exhibition Lee Mingwei and His Relations: The Art of Participation at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum can experience art in a very practical way through the artist’s design for interaction.

Taiwanese conceptual artist Lee Mingwei was born in 1964. Based in New York City, Lee received his MFA from Yale in 1997. He has exhibited widely; at MoMA and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, the 18th Sydney Biennale, and the 50th Venice Biennale representing Taiwan at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum Pavilion, to name a few.

Lee’s oeuvre is elegant, soft and delicate, as if hinting the fragility of life and relations among people. Interaction is key to his central ideology: “The exhibition is only 40 per cent complete when opened,” he has said. To him, the audience gives life to his art; one cannot exist without the other. This codependent relationship is poetic in terms of showing society in a microcosm of intangible and overlapped acts.

Sleep, food, clothes are all life essentials and by introducing these routine in the “voids” of the museums, Lee successfully creates a sort of “anti-void” that fills the space with personal vibrations. Using the memories and senses of the spectators, Lee’s medium transcends physical materials.

With each experience, the work itself is transformed and perceived differently. To Lee, the Sleeping Project and Dining Project both have very personal significance. The exchange of life stories, insomnia, imagining different souls traveling on the same tracks, it’s like living in a continuum of mixed emotions. By initiating the Dining Project, Lee wishes to rekindle the diminishing interaction and intimacy among human beings, which is the very things that define the human experience.
Lee Mingwe,The Sleeping Project, installation view, 2015. Courtesy: the artist and Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei

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