• Date
      2015.11.21 - 2016.02.28
    • Artist
      Carol Lee
    • Curator
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Remembering Days, Forgetting Time

Carol Lee’s work is distinct for its focus on time as both the material and the means of making art. This began with a pictorial journal entitled Under-layers (2005) that she produced using ink on paper. The journal explored her personal state of mind as a continuous recording of time.
Lee is primarily interested in the passage of time (time in motion), as well as time, as a measure of distance between one place and another (like a light year). To express this, her works often combine traditional media, such as photography, printmaking and painting. They are also full of non-material and non-specific uncertainties. For example, by harnessing changes in light as a reaction with paper, the works evoke the relationship between time and history, functioning as a pictorial form of memory. Lee describes this language of expression as “time writing” or “time drawing”. Different from photographs and paintings which often represent time as a captured moment, in her works time flows over the surface, settling on the paper and accumulating a presence as it interacts with the material. Eventually, what evolves is a ghostly image of, say, a found object that, through exposure on the paper over time, becomes an empty area of space, a result which is impossible to predict before it happens.
In recent years, exploring time as distance, Lee has been working on the on-going Postcard Project. This involves hand-made postcards – the current figure runs at over a thousand pieces which have on the picture side a stenciled image, perhaps an object gathered from daily life and travels, or a pattern derived from a physical texture and preserved on a postcard using the “time drawing” technique. On its other side, each postcard carries a handwritten message from Lee or the sender. The postcards are mailed to family and friends, to persons unknown, embarking on journeys of their own, a gift of the artist to the sender and the sender to the recipient. Thus, each is infused not only with the time required to make it, but also to mail, deliver and receive it. In an era dominated by speed and digital media, Lee asks us to pause and think about writing as communication and time.
In her new series, Remembering Days, Forgetting Time, time is both medium and content. Different from before, these works are not related to the artist’s personal memories. The starting point is the “others” in time and space, including artefacts that symbolise culture and history from different eras. Life walks with time, and because of time, everyone and every object has their own stories. Some stories are widely told, while many more are buried in the memory of their owners, spending long years in silence, finally lost in the history of man. Time, which drives this process, is itself invisible, but in her work, Carol Lee allows time to pass through objects from the past and remain with us in the present. The memories attached to all manner of object is captured in the works, the abstract and invisible transformed into images we can all see.

About the Artist

Carol Lee Mei Kuen was born in Hong Kong where she continues to live and work. Between 1983 and 1999, she studied Chinese Painting and obtained a Master degree. She then graduated from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University/Hong Kong Art School in 2001, gaining a masters’ there in 2007.


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