Ken Lum is an Artist
Work From the Last 30 Years

On view at the LA Royale Projects Sept. 19 – Nov. 14, 2015

Known as an innovator of post-conceptual art, Ken Lum’s works explore self-identity, immigration, language, and spatial politics. Lum is recognized as part of the “Vancouver School” of conceptual photography (alongside luminary artists Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham, and Ian Wallace), but he also works in a large variety of media, including painting, performance, sculpture and photography. Of Lum’s oeuvre, Jeff Wall has written, “The people in his pictures are rooted in families, communities and nations, but are swept up in historical and economic movements which transform personal bonds and settled life patterns in ways which lead alternately to liberation from some things and enslavements to others.” Lum currently has a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna and has exhibited in many prominent venues, including the 2014 Whitney Biennial, the 2008 Gwangju Biennale, the 2007 Istanbul Biennial, Documenta XI (2002) as well as the 2001 and 1995 Venice Biennales. This survey at Royale Projects Los Angeles will mark the artist’s first solo exhibition in Southern California.

The LA Royale Projects exhibition will largely focus on Lum’s image and text works, pictured by Catherine Bédard in her 2002 monograph of the artist: “Beneath an apparent celebration of social integration, Lum’s signs – for a motel, a restaurant, a hairdresser’s – expose the ramifications of the systematic displacement of peoples. They mime the real signs found in those working class areas on the edge of any city and often populated by people from some of the most devastated parts of the world. Seducing the viewer by their festive air, Lum’s signs’ textual charge ignites a discourse that is at once universal (globalization and mass migrations) and personal (individual lives and ethnicity). But Lum raises doubts and seems to leave them unresolved. Are the signs real or fictional? The views are real, but whose are they – and who are they for? ”

Known for investigations of identity, language and space that often address colonial legacies, Ken Lum’s work has been widely exhibited since the late 1970s. Solo exhibitions include the National Gallery of Canada, Witte de With, the Vancouver Art Gallery and most recently at Kunsthalle Wien. Prominent international group exhibitions include the 2014 Whitney Biennial, the 2008 Gwangju Biennale, the 2007 Istanbul Biennial, Documenta XI and the 1995 and 2001 Venice Biennales. Lum has garnered international praise for his public art, which has been installed in Vienna, Toronto, Stockholm and notably in his hometown via his white neon Monument for East Vancouver (2010). Lum’s practice also includes writing and curating. He is founding editor of Yishu: The Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art and was head of the graduate program in studio art at the University of British Columbia from 2000 to 2006. Currently, he is director of the undergraduate fine arts program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.