Art Toronto 2018
Ken Lum Solo Booth F5
October 26-29, 2018 Metro Convention Centre
Fusing simplicity and complexity, Ken Lum’s work raises questions that are left unanswered, prompting viewers to decipher potential solutions to universal concerns. The artist explores how existing political, economic and social structures play a significant role in the construction of identity leading to tensions between personal experience and external classification. Using mass-produced consumer materials, Lum merges art and popular culture, questioning the systems that order our understanding of the everyday world.
Rejection, Fear, Comfort, Acceptance reflects one of the most basic human needs, belonging. In this rainbow-palette grid, acceptance is achieved by moving from square to square, beginning with rejection. Reading similarly to a pain measurement chart, feelings are color- coded, yet the typical colors that are associated with these terms are reversed. Red becomes acceptance and green becomes rejection exposing a subtle irony that is common throughout Lum’s work.
The artists’ series of pie charts intentionally leaves out any statistical information stripping the diagrams of their intended purpose and reducing them to minimalist illustrations. Without any data displayed or clear answers given, Social Media and Income becomes a vexing puzzle that cannot be solved.
For Lum’s ongoing installations, as part of the ‘Furniture Series’, the artist assembles various decorative pillows, side tables and sofas. By forming configurations that are impossible to access, he eliminates the furniture’s function and reconstructs it into sculpture. These plush blockades create a composition that keeps the viewer in isolation, only being able to interact as a marginalized figure. The powerlessness of the observer is apparent as various forms of exclusion fester and remind of the many boundary lines of contemporary society.
An innovator of post-conceptual art, Lum is recognized as coming up with the Vancouver School of conceptual photography, alongside luminary artists such as Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham and Ian Wallace. His work has been widely exhibited since the 1970’s. Currently, he resides in Philadelphia where he is the Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design. The artist has exhibited at the Swiss Institute, New York, NY; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.; National Gallery of Canada, Ontario, Canada; Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands; the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada and Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria. His work was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, the 2008 Gwangju Biennale, the 2007 Istanbul Biennial, Documenta XI and the 1995 and 2001 Venice Biennales.
Image Credit: Ken Lum, Pie Chart (Social Media and Income), 2012, Path Chart Series, AP inkjet print on Arches paper, 48 x 48 in (121.9 x 121.9 cm)
View and download the catalogue here: Art Toronto 2018 – Ken Lum Catalogue