Lee Kit: You (you). @ Hong Kong pavilion, Venice Biennale

Review by Melanie Letore | 12 Jul 2013
  • You (you).

Hong Kong's participation in this year's plethora of shows is certainly not as spectacular as some other exhibitions at the Venice Biennale. Instead, Lee Kit's collateral event You (you). is a quiet contemplative cocoon.

Spread over the courtyard and two rooms, his work encourages viewers to revel in the joy of colour, form and texture through a mixture of precise installation and minimal video and sound work. In the courtyard, two cream-coloured windowed structures offer an inaccessible but visible interior, scattered with domestic objects. In the gallery, more objects (bowls, glasses, cups, T-shirts, buckets, a hoover, a hairdryer, towels) are also sparsely displayed on shelves, on the blue carpeted floor or on other objects. They seem to be made of plastic, wood, pyrex, cotton – materials we handle routinely, without really exploring their surface. These have been carefully selected by one person looking for a particular tone, who has touched them and delicately left them as traces. In his absence, these objects evoke a body: its sense of touch, of vision, its spatial awareness. A white table has been neatly and repeatedly scratched to reveal tiny glimpses of brown underneath. A rotating heater creaks as it illuminates and warms a corner. A postcard-like image is printed on an A4 sheet, the word FOREVER truncated from the bottom of the page.

A slight violence permeates the exhibition, slowing a quick dismissive reading of the show. Not yet forty years old, the artist is flowering. You (you). might seem slightly angled towards creating an aesthetic or a style, but within the context of the Biennale it offers the opportunity to slow down, look – and look again. This exhibition feels like a still environment, but definitely not a stagnant one. No conclusion has been made; this is a place of possibilities. [Melanie Letore]