The Vancouver Art Gallery is currently presenting the first large-scale solo survey of the work of internationally renowned East Vancouver artist Ken Lum. The exhibit opened February 12th, Ken Lum features more than 50 works spanning Lum’s 30-year career, including a number of works not previously exhibited in North America: Mirror Maze with 12 Signs of Depression; House of Realization; and his recent Rorschach Shopkeeper Signs.
Over the past three decades, Lum has developed a complex body of work which includes sculpture, painting, photography and other art forms. This exhibition is a comprehensive exploration of that art, from his early performance work Entertainment for Surrey, to his acclaimed Portrait-Repeated Text series, to his more recent mirror-based installations.
Noted for its critical relevance, ironic humour and emphasis on the commonplace, Lum’s art investigates questions of identity and public/private space. His upbringing in East Vancouver, a place of overlapping cultural values, forms the basis for much of his work. Subverting the visual tropes of mass media – such as signs, billboards and logos – Lum reveals the tensions and contradictions that characterize life in an increasingly globalized world.
“I wanted a symbol of collective memory in a city that discourages collective memory” Ken Lum on the East Van cross
Lum’s work has been exhibited throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and presented in important international forums such as Documenta and the Carnegie International, as well as in Biennales in Shanghai, Gwangju, Liverpool, Istanbul, Sao Paolo and Venice.
Image: Rafal Gerszak