Born 1964, Taiwan
Lives and works New York, US and Paris
Sonic Blossom 2013-present
ongoing participatory performance with chair, music stand, costume, spontaneous song
Performers: Michael Butchard, Anna-Louise Cole, Helene Dahlberg, Keara Donohoe, Jane Ede, Celeste Lazarenko,
Bree Meara-Hendy, Andrew Moran, James Payne,
Ayse Goknur Shanal
Accompaniment: Mikey Curtain
Thursday-Sunday, 12 noon-4 PM
Taiwanese American artist Lee Mingwei presents a ‘living sculpture’ in the gallery, four afternoons a week, for the exhibition’s duration. It involves a classically trained singer
who approaches visitors to offer the gift of a song. If accepted, the singer will seat the recipient in a chair designed by the artist and sing one of five Schubert lieder to them. It is the opposite of an opera house experience where a singer usually performs to many anonymous people, seated in darkness.
This singular gallery experience is more intimate for the singer and audience member. It can in fact be a gift for both.
As a child growing up in Taipei, Lee Mingwei received the ‘gift’ of Schubert’s lieder from his mother, who played them to calm her restless son. Years later, as she recovered from open-heart surgery, he played the same songs to his mother to support her healing. This simple but profound exchange of intimacy and love forms the origin for the work, even if the story itself is unknown to most people who receive the gift of a song.
The Letter Writing Project 1998-present
wooden booths, writing papers, envelopes
The Letter Writing Project by Taiwanese American artist Lee Mingwei comprises three semi-transparent, timber structures that resemble pagodas or softly glowing lanterns. Visitors are invited to remove their shoes and enter them, one person at a time, to write a letter with the materials provided within.
One of the structures is designed for standing, one for sitting, and the third for kneeling – all positions associated with Buddhist contemplation.
In this work, the artist invites you to write a letter to someone of your choice in response to the theme of gratitude, or insight, or forgiveness. It offers an opportunity to put into words the things that so often remain unsaid in our lives; or those things that we too often do not find the time to say to the people around us, including loved ones and family. Courtesy and respect are encouraged in all letters written.
If you choose to leave your letter unsealed, other gallery visitors may read your letter. If you seal your letter, it will remain private. If you seal and address your letter, the Museum will post it on your behalf during the course of the exhibition.