A sense of the enchanting absurdity of human nature runs throughout Yutie Lee’s practice. Whether it takes the form of delighting in the apparent incommensurability of cultural rituals (Oh One in a Nude Bottle, 2015; Voices of the Island, 2014), or mirth at the various levels of miscommunication engendered in cosmopolitan exchanges (Demos and Sea Cucumbers, 2016), Lee’s combination of tightly-scripted and open-ended elements within all her works evokes a form of modern-day commedia dell’arte.
Recently, this fascination with the incongruity of the world around us has played out in a series of works which probe an increasingly pervasive compulsion to perpetually record, upload and transmit one’s ‘personal’ experiences, along with the manner in which this desire to personally customise and ‘curate’ one’s environment has been instrumentalised in service of contemporary consumption; whether it be the inscription of one’s name/brand upon a pair of sneakers (Grandpa Brought Me A New Pair of Shoes, 2016), or the selection and compilation of sounds and music as a mode through which one’s ‘personality’ is perpetually reinscribed (You’re Not Interested in the Moon, 2016).
Coupled with this is an ongoing investigation into contemporary modes of synaesthesia, such as in Lee’s commissioning of musicians to create a soundtrack in response to a foreign word or song – which in itself evokes the liminal space between comprehensible and aural sensations (Ondulé, 2015) – or the adoption of a conspicuously digital palette in a series of works which attempt to give form to non-cognitative understandings of human biology; themselves culturally contingent (Oh One, 2016; Substrat_Mime001 & 002, 2016).
This ability to employ differing media as a means of probing the fissures within the existing ontological thinking are best exemplified in the seemingly basic trompe-l’œils created by Lee in her on-going “Bridge” series (Chuan Qiang – Passing Through the Wall, Part I, 2014; or Pons, 2016). Here, the deliberately flimsy physical and architectural interventions are able to momentarily transcend their apparent absurdity or futility and appeal to our primordial desire of overcoming the physical/sensory limitations of our will for knowledge.
– Dr.Damian Lentini, art historian