Tagore Foundation International celebrates Red
Sundaram Tagore, in partnership with Tagore Foundation International and the Hong Kong Arts Centre, with generous support from the National Arts Council of Singapore, presents Jane Lee: Red States, an exhibition by acclaimed Singaporean artist Jane Lee at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road in Wanchai. This defining, mid-career presentation, which includes a retrospective selection of studies and maquettes that trace the chronology of Lee's practice, is the artist's first solo show in Hong Kong.
Jane Lee first came to critical attention in 2008 when her massive installation Raw Canvas – now on view at the National Gallery of Singapore –was featured in the Singapore Biennale, curated by Fumio Nanjo. As one of the few Asian artists producing monumental, sculptural paintings, Lee's work was a highlight of Medium at Large, a yearlong exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum (2014–15), where her large-scale wall-mounted installation Status was acquired for the museum's permanent collection.
Paint, canvas, frame, orientation and dimension – all are variables in Jane Lee's hands. Through assiduous processes of layering, mixing, winding, wrapping, kneading, daubing and other acts of physical transformation, the artist redefines paint and painting to produce dynamic and bold forms.
Red States comprises a diverse yet cohesive mix of new sculptural paintings and site-specific installations produced for this presentation. The exhibition spans all levels of the Hong Kong Arts Centre's Pao Galleries, with paintings, sculptures and a large-scale installation suspended from the ceiling on the top floor, accompanied by studies and reference materials tracing the evolution of Lee's practice on the lower level.
The retrospective portion of the exhibition is curated by Michelle Ho, assistant director of Singapore's ADM Gallery at the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, and former curator at the Singapore Art Museum.
"The Foundation is based on ideas of intercultural dialogue, which upholds Rabindranath Tagore's own vision of bringing communities together," states Sundaram Tagore, Founder." Jane Lee fulfils that mission, promoting dialogue between India and Singapore – a place where Rabindranath Tagore spent an extended period of time – not only in her own life, as she is a practitioner of meditation and yoga, but more importantly, her work captures the zeitgeist of this particular time."
Lee staddles materials and mediums and abstract ideations to create a stunning series of works that draw attention to the scarlet counterpoints in the colour red even as she creates geometric intensities that pop out of the colourative sojourn. Included in the show are works that expand on earlier series including Fetish, begun in 2009, in which she employs her trademark technique of hand-twisting sinews of dried paint into coils to produce intricate, tactile surfaces articulated in opulent colour.
Lee places technique as a corollary to contexts in her power driven juxtapositions of the state of red in its physicality, but the ensuing result is modern, in fact, an experiment that has an insignia of the avant-garde in the way she spools the colour red in unpredictable ways to create islands of amorphous alacrity.
The success of this brilliantly conceptualized show is how the colour red dominates the new body of work – without disturbing our senses.
Red invites the human gaze not as a single colour, but as a presence in the crimson tide of exploration. more as a spectrum of shades that mirror the multiple associations in perception as well as perspective – from passion and action to blood and life to cultural and political references to luck, auspiciousness and the representation of people and the nation.