Space Man

Con­tem­po­rary artist Lee Kit is open­ing a new space for cre­ative di­a­logue in Sham Shui Po

Hong Kong Tatler - - Small Talk -

ee kit is renowned for his in­trigu­ing pre­sen­ta­tion of ev­ery­day ma­te­ri­als and ob­jects. The Hong Kong artist rep­re­sented his home­town at the 2013 Venice Bi­en­nale with You (you), an ex­hibit that both re­vealed and con­cealed per­sonal in­ter­ac­tions and as­so­ci­a­tions through the jux­ta­po­si­tion of util­i­tar­ian ob­jects with sound, video and per­for­mance works. He has also ex­hib­ited else­where over­seas, in­clud­ing at the Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art in New York and the Tate Mod­ern in Lon­don. Kit’s latest pro­ject, Things That Can Hap­pen, is a mul­ti­func­tional art space cre­ated with friend and cu­ra­tor Chan­tal Wong. Fea­tur­ing gallery spa­ces, a li­brary and a stu­dio for an artist in res­i­dence, it oc­cu­pies the first floor of a tra­di­tional tong lau in Sham Shui Po. The non-profit ven­ture, which en­joys the sup­port of en­trepreneurs Alan Lo and Dar­rin Woo, who own the build­ing, opens this month and will run for an ini­tial pe­riod of two years. Lee says Things That Can Hap­pen is a place for ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and di­a­logue, and seeks to make a con­nec­tion be­tween the city’s wealthy gal­leries and grass-roots artists. thingsthat­can­hap­ Why have you cho­sen to lo­cate your gallery in Sham Shui Po? The dis­trict is very in­ter­na­tional. It’s a rel­a­tively poor area but it’s also very vi­brant. You can get any­thing you want here—good food, all sorts of ma­te­ri­als. There is also a big dif­fer­ence be­tween night and day in this area. I love it when the sun has set and all the tiny noo­dle shops open up.

Ex­plain your fas­ci­na­tion with ev­ery­day ob­jects. I al­ways see some­thing in the ob­jects I work with. I sense some sort of emo­tion. Some­times I see hap­pi­ness in an ob­ject; some­times I see some­thing sad; some­times I even see anger in an ob­ject. I don’t know if it’s a pro­jec­tion or an as­so­ci­a­tion.

Is it true you have a love-hate re­la­tion­ship with Hong Kong? And why is that? I ac­tu­ally like Hong Kong very much. A lot of peo­ple have a love­hate re­la­tion­ship with their home­town. With the chang­ing po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Hong Kong I find that I hate it more and more, but I also care about it more and more. Ac­tu­ally, I think Hong Kong peo­ple are self­ish, but not too self­ish. How do you see the re­la­tion­ship be­tween art and pol­i­tics? I think art in gen­eral is a pro­jec­tor. Ev­ery­thing has be­come very ex­treme in the con­tem­po­rary art scene in Hong Kong, and I think this is a re­flec­tion of the so­cial and the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in the city.

What’s be­hind your choice of ma­te­ri­als, such as cloth and card­board, in your art? It’s dif­fi­cult for me to ex­plain why I use cer­tain ma­te­ri­als. I like cheap ma­te­ri­als or equip­ment and I tend to use them in a low-pro­file way.

What do you think about the fu­ture of the city’s art scene? The art scene is grow­ing big­ger and big­ger but the dis­tance be­tween the money side of art and the grass-roots side is also get­ting big­ger and big­ger. I don’t know if it’s good or not, but I think there could be more dis­cus­sion about that. There are lots of in­ter­est­ing artists in Hong Kong. Many oil pain­ters are un­der­rated.

Who would you love to see at the open­ing party of your space? I just don’t want one per­son to come. He’s a politi­cian; ev­ery­one knows him.

king of the ev­ery­day Lee Kit’s new gallery space will show­case the work of ex­per­i­men­tal artists

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