3 October 2017 – 29 March 2018
Michael Lee (b. 1972, Singapore) is an artist, curator, and publisher based in Singapore. Researching urban memory with a marked interest in loss, its contexts, and implications, Lee’s observations often merge personal and national narratives and are variously translated into objects, diagrams, situations, curations, and texts. He has presented his work in solo exhibitions at Yavuz Fine Art, Singapore, 2014; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, 2013; Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong, 2010. His work has also been included in international group exhibitions such as Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, China, 2014, and Asia Triennial Manchester, United Kingdom, 2011, among others. Lee is the founding director of Studio Bibliothèque, a platform which facilitates experiments in art making, curating, and publishing. He was a co-curator of An Atlas of Mirrors, Singapore Biennale, 2016.
His editorial projects include the series Corridors: Notes on the Contemporary (Singapore: Studio Bibliothèque, 2013) and Who Cares: 16 Essays on Curating in Asia, co-edited with Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, (Hong Kong: Para/Site Art Space, 2010.)
He was awarded the APBF Signature Art Prize People’s Choice Award in 2011 and
the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award (Visual Arts) in 2005.
During the residency, Lee will expand his interest in urban phenomena and inner structures by focusing on cutaways: openings created through the partial removal of the external surface of an object that makes its internal features visible. The artist will research and select a number of case studies in Singapore to explore the function of cutaways with in the urban context and engage with overlooked issues regarding art, architecture, and urban design.
Informed by several theories in the fields of film studies, linguistics, and graphic design, Lee regards cutaways as a method of investigation, a concealment device that can open up a different understanding of urban processes and anxieties as well as provide a penetrating insight into the deep-seated desires of the city.
How are curatorial concepts shaped by artistic practices? For Artist Resource Platform: activate! III curator and writer Melanie Pocock discusses her approach to curating as a response to ideas and aesthetics of particular artworks. Highlighting her inspiration from several artists in the NTU CCA Singapore Artist Research Platform, she revisits two projects: Countershadows (tactics in evasion), an exhibition that was presented at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, LASALLE College of the Arts in 2014, and A machine for (living) dying in (2014), a solo exhibition by artist, curator and publisher Michael Lee. During the session, Pocock and Lee also reflect on reciprocal relationships between curators and artists, and their respective practices.
Developed during his residency at NTU CCA Singapore, Creatif Compleks (2018) is the culmination of Michael Lee’s reflection on the function of the artist’s studio within the arts ecology of a city. The work takes the form of a diagram about a hypothetical property development consisting of various configurations of the artist’s home/studio. The use of LED light strips, a popular fixture in advertising and interior design, alludes to latent apprehensions about the development and promotion of the arts in Singapore which today are, arguably, at a feverish pitch. Informed by myths and fantasies of artists in their studios, the work takes a speculative leap into the utopian and the absurd.
The artist presented a talk on 17 March 2018.
Creatif Compleks is on view in The Vitrine until 16 September 2018.