Artist Lee Kit adds melancholy to exhibition from Venice Biennale

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 March, 2014, 3:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 March, 2014, 3:01am

The exhibition that put Hong Kong in the spotlight at last year's Venice Biennale has returned to the city in an expanded form in which feelings of melancholy and anger over recent developments are on display.

Artist Lee Kit's solo exhibition You., now showing at the Cattle Depot Artist Village is based on Lee's You (you). at the Hong Kong pavilion in Venice last summer.

"This is not the kind of show that will cheer you up or make you feel comfortable," Lee said yesterday at a preview of the exhibition that is the latest offering from the Mobile M+ series.

Mobile M+ is a series of exhibitions and shows by M+, the museum of visual culture that will open at the West Kowloon Cultural District in 2017.

"I expect the audience to walk out of this show with traces of melancholic feelings."

The artist said most of the works shown in Venice, including sound and video installations, paintings and objects such as buckets, T-shirts, and a security guard booth - which became an icon of the art world's "Olympics" - were on display.

However, the higher ceiling and different space configuration at the To Kwa Wan heritage site made the artist and curators think again about their Hong Kong presentation.

New works were added to the exhibition.

A figurative painting is hung next to a projection of an image of the same painting. Sounds come from different sources - in one room music mingles with the sounds of paper tearing and utensils clanking.

A video installation showing sausages enduring the slow process of being grilled in an oven until they finally burst carries a feeling of anger, said Lee, who created the work just days before the show opened.

M+ assistant curator Yung Ma, curator of the Venice and Hong Kong exhibitions, said the space in Hong Kong required a new direction.

"The emotions were more in-between [in Venice] and this time they are more extreme ... The 'anger' feeling is a response to society's recent happenings," said Ma, who did not elaborate.

M+ executive director Lars Nittve, a co-curator of the Venice and Hong Kong exhibitions, said the entire exhibition could be seen as one painting, and the space served as a canvas for Lee, who had been exhibiting around the world but hadn't been properly shown in Hong Kong in recent years.

M+ made its Venice Biennale debut last year with Lee's exhibition after the Arts Development Council, which is responsible for commissioning the Hong Kong presentation in the world's biggest art event, appointed the museum as a partner.

The council and M+ paid HK$5 million each to fund the project. Nittve said it was not know whether M+ would helm Hong Kong's participation in the Venice Biennale next year.

You. Opens today and runs until April 13. Admission is free.