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Shiseido Gallery
Tokyo Ginza Shiseido Building
Basement floor, 8-8-3 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Tokyo 104-0061, Japan   map * 
tel: +81 3 3572 3901     fax: +81 3 3672 3951

The voice behind me
by Shiseido Gallery
Location: Shiseido Gallery
Artist(s): LEE Kit
Date: 2 Jun - 26 Jul 2015

The Shiseido Gallery is pleased to announce that it will host an exhibition by Hong Kong-born artist Lee Kit, currently based in Taipei. Titled The voice behind me, this exhibition will run from June 2 (Tue) through July 26 (Sun), 2015.

Lee Kit was born in Hong Kong in 1978. After studying Masters degree in Fine Art at the Chinese University of Hong Kong until 2008, he began participating in a wide variety of exhibitions both in Hong Kong and elsewhere. In 2013 he was selected to represent Hong Kong at the Venice Biennale, and was even noted in a Wall Street Journal article on the Biennale as “one of the five artists to watch.” With increasing international attention, Lee participated in the 12th Sharjah Biennale (United Arab Emirates) in 2015, and he continues to be active with solo exhibitions planned for 2016 at the S.M.A.K. Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent, Belgium and at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, United States.

Lee produces paintings on cloth and cardboard, ready-made items like lights and hangers combined with paintings, or sometimes combinations of video and paintings, and most often they are characterized by a quotidian sense of blending casually into the everyday. His works are easily recognized for their subtle pastel colors and seem to cast admiration on the everyday. Nevertheless, Lee’s consciousness also extends to the societies and political situations he perceives around him. Even as a student back in 2003, when the Hong Kong government issued curfews related to the SARS outbreak that year, Lee responded in his own modest way by going out for a picnic with some friends, complete with a hand-painted checkered ground cloth. Another work, Scratching the table surface (2006–11) shows Lee’s finger scratching his table at home in video and photos, and while this seems like a record of meaningless behavior, it couches a subtle criticism towards cities that have become obsessed solely with the pursuit of efficiency in the wake of high economic growth.

Lee’s keywords for this exhibition include concepts like “fear,” “solitude” and “breathing.” In the background, many of these reflect frustration with political and social inequalities, the stresses that accompany daily life, and inescapable solitude. Lee himself has felt such feelings during his sojourns in many different cities—Hong Kong, Taipei, London, Tokyo, among others—and while such feelings may often be construed as negatives, Lee remarks that “being pessimistic is optimistic.” This sort of flexible attitude is essential if one is to resist being beaten down by current conditions and to move forward with living. Even Lee’s title for this exhibition, The voice behind me, contains an expression of this attitude, an acknowledgement of the familiar yet also alienating voice always in the background, a voice that is almost unbearable, but which one can only accept. Lee’s idea seems to be that even in the face of obstruction, where one can hardly manage a deep breath, it is still possible to keep breathing, and in that there is hope.

This exhibition will show about ten works including Scratching the table surface and other past representative pieces to new ones including paintings on cloth with text, paintings on cardboard and video works created for the gallery’s unique space. While Lee’s works do not speak their messages loudly, they embody a refined wit. The Japanese public, having passed through its own period of high economic prosperity, are now standing at a turning point. Please look forward to this exhibition which includes some hints for the Japanese to cope with their current situation.

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