Ken Lum: Works with photography

21 Sep 2001 - 12 Jan 2002

Ken Lum is one of Canada's leading international artists; he lives and works in Vancouver. Conceived as a 20-year retrospective of Lum's photographic œuvre, this exhibition also includes video and photographic documentation of performance works. The artist's rise to prominence as a world-renowned figure coincides with the increasing dominance of photo-based practices in contemporary art. Throughout his career, the artist has consistently worked with photographic portraits bound to texts, and his investigations into this territory embody his most significant achievements. The portraits he presents us with are rarely idealized; in fact, it could be said that he works within the tradition of realism.Lum's major series from the 1980s onward - Portrait Logos, Youth Portraits, Portrait Attributes, Portrait-Repeated Texts, and the public commission There is no place like home - depict a broad range of types from the social spectrum. Each portrait is paired to a logo, a person's name, or a more descriptive and sometimes highly emotional text. His more recent Photo- Mirror series incorporates fleeting portraits of spectators as reflected in the mirrored surfaces of the works.Ken Lum is primarily concerned with issues of identity. He wants to intervene aggressively in the public and social spaces where he exhibits. Much of his art practice explores the anxiety, confusion, and contradictions that arise when people of disparate backgrounds meet. If Canada's multicultural, New-World population of immigrants has provided much of the content for his work it is because he is interested in the interfaces where languages and cultures collide.