KEN LUM IS AN ARTIST
SEP 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?