“In her meticulous sculptural practice, Chan assumes a variety of positions—archeologist, ragpicker, antiquarian—to meditate on the complexity of materials and their movement around the world. Trained as a painter, she often translates these efforts into relic-like wall-based structures that recall the compositional logic of religious icons and totems.” Jeppe Ugelvig, 2022
About the artist
Leelee Chan makes enigmatic sculptures that incorporate urban debris, ancient artifacts, natural materials, industrial and mundane products, generating visual paradoxes in which these objects move seamlessly between past, present and future.
Reflecting the shifting urban fabric in her immediate surroundings in Hong Kong, Chan’s sculptures undergo an elaborate transformation through tactile experimentation with materials and processes. The artist pushes the limits of her objects’ physicality and expands the possibilities of the language of abstraction. Her sculptures provoke a particular atmosphere and feeling that conjure ambient poetry of the built environment.
Chan’s visceral exploration of the unknown encapsulates her interest in urbanism, architecture, material culture, craft, and antiquities. Her interplay of abstract forms, intricate details, and unexpected materials calls for a physical experience and encourages a new way of seeing and perceiving.
“I spend a lot of time looking at objects, thinking about them, turning them upside down, making them do the “wrong” thing. Just to recalibrate what we think we know about the objects and how they should behave. We often have an intuitive perception of the objects’ function, an understanding of their cultural context, and how their projected value reflects who we are. Like a plastic pallet, you may see stacked on the street – once you put it upright it opens a lot of possibilities.” Leelee Chan, 2020
Leelee Chan’s Art Journey. Tokens From TimeIn collaboration with the sculptor Leelee Chan, a world- and time-spanning project has been selected for the 8th BMW Art Journey – an initiative of BMW and ART Basel.Ed. BMW Group, Munich, András Szánto, text(s) by Leelee Chan, Ingrid Pui Yee Chu, Thomas Girst, Louise Law Lok-Man, Marc Spiegler, graphic design by Double Standards. Published by Hatje Cantz.