Lee Kit: Hold your breath, dance slowly & A small sound in your head

Lee Kit: Hold your breath, dance slowly & A small sound in your head


Lee Kit, I feel fine and I feel good, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Jane Lombard Gallery.

July 8, 2016
Lee Kit
Hold your breath, dance slowly & A small sound in your head
May 12–October 9, 2016
Jan Hoetplein 1
9000 Ghent
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 9:30am–5:30pm,
Saturday–Sunday 10am–6pm

T +32 9 323 60 01

S.M.A.K. is pleased to present an exhibition of work by the Hong Kong-born and Taipei-based artist Lee Kit (1978), who is one of the most acclaimed contemporary artists in Asia today. Entitled A small sound in your head, the show unfolds as a spatial installation consisting of drawings, films, projections and household items in one wing of S.M.A.K.’s ground floor. The presentation is Lee’s first institutional solo show in Europe and is being held parallel to his first museum exhibition in the US, Hold your breath, dance slowly at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

For this presentation in S.M.A.K., Lee Kit takes his work Scratching The Table Surface (2006–09) as a point of departure. Over the course of three years, the artist scratched a hole in a table-top with his fingers, while in the same period writing 300 letters informing his friends about this activity. In the labyrinthine in-situ installation in S.M.A.K., which also includes other works, Lee Kit continues his investigation into the ambiguous territory between the borders of private and public. With its meticulous spatial composition of repetitive gestures, text extracts, domestic objects, film clips, fabric, curtains and intangibles such as daylight and projection light, the exhibition subtly recalls the qualities and routines of the everyday.

One of the principles in Lee Kit’s practice is that art, instead of being mere information, should disrupt the ubiquitous daily streams of information. Lee sees his work as in-depth artistic research into human emotions, which in a globalized world may be the final common denominator. To subtly explore internal states such as loss, happiness, boredom, love and hate, Lee’s artistic vocabulary includes recurring motifs, for example hands, quotes from pop songs, scraps of language and symbols recalling collective and individual memory. They act as entry points into Lee’s “situations,” as his painting-like installations have previously been described. By providing the viewer with a feeling of anti-efficient, useless time, Lee’s works undermine the principles of today’s accelerated capitalist society.

Lee Kit, who has lived in Taipei since 2012, frequently imparts political commentary in his work. Ever since his earliest series of “Hand-painted cloth” (2003–), he has subtly emphasized the conflicting and challenging political history of his place of birth, Hong Kong. As a densely populated city governed by both communist and capitalist, as well as British and Chinese, principles, it is more precarious to question the status of the individual here than elsewhere. In that respect, Lee Kit’s art also represents an intersection of Western and Eastern ethics: the Asian religious and philosophical tradition is based on the idea of an endless stream of events; the Western way of thinking emanates from the idea of a beginning and an end. Without ultimately tilting in either of the two directions, Lee Kit’s work balances between these two states of mind.

Lee Kit was nominated for the shortlist of the 2013 Hugo Boss and Rockbund Art Museum Asia Art Prize and represented Hong Kong with the project You(you) at the 2013 Venice Biennale. He has participated in major solo and group shows worldwide, such as the Sharjah Biennial (2015); The Ungovernables at The New Museum Triennial, New York (2012); Every Breathe You Take at the Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai (2012); Henry (Have you been this low?) at Western Front, Vancouver (2011); and No Soul For Sale at Tate Modern, London (2010). Lee Kit originally trained as a painter during his Fine Art studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2003–08).

On the occasion of Lee Kit’s exhibitions at S.M.A.K. and the Walker Art Center, a book is being published in collaboration with Koenig Books, London. It contains contributions by Anthony Young, Hu Fang, Martin Germann and Philippe van Cauteren, as well as a conversation between the artist, Misa Jeffereis and Olga Viso. The book is designed by Kim Beirnaert (Ghent) and edited by Martin Germann.

For more information: Annelies Vantyghem, annelies [​at​] smak.be / T +32 (0)9 240 76 49

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July 8, 2016

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