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From Drawing to Performance: The Lee Wen Archive

What is performance art, and why is it important? Using the Lee Wen Archive as a point of departure, this resource introduces the history of performance art in Singapore and South East Asia. And it also introduces Lee Wen’s works, and discuss how his training in drawing and painting laid the foundation for his development as a performance artist.

The content of this series of short videos is derived from Teaching Labs | From Drawing to Performance: The Lee Wen Archive

Content: Chương-Đài Võ, AAA Researcher
Voice over: Sharon Fung
Language: English
Total Length: 29 minutes  

Part I: Emergence of Performance Art around the world, and in Singapore

Length: 8 minutes

Emergence of Performance Art in Singapore through Three Projects
  • Key events (the 1950s-1980s):
    Post World War II, decolonization movements, rapid modernization, consumer culture, the commodification of daily life, social movements: protests and demonstrations around the world

  • Keywords:
    Shift from the object to the process, the ephemeral, the experience, social activism, community practices

Part II: A History of Performance Art in Singapore

Length: 8 minutes

An Overview of the Recent History of Performance Art in Singapore
  • Key events:
    Artists in Singapore combine ideas about performance art with their observations of local issues, local materials, and local practices
    Ten-year de facto ban on performance art in Singapore (1994-2003)
    Artists Investigating Monuments (2000-2005), a project that questions monuments and civic sites: The Raffles Landing Site, Merlion Park, and Hong Lim Park (2000)

  • Keywords:
    Gully Curtains (1979), The Artists Village (1988), Artists General Assembly at Fifth Passage Contemporary Art Space (1993-1994)

Part III: Lee Wen’s Practice

Length: 13 minutes

The Lee Wen Archive_PT3(ENG)_Rev1 Lee Wen’s Practice
  • Key events:
    Lee Wen born to Lee Mee Lan and Lee Xue Min (1957); joins The Artists Village (1989); attends City College of London Polytechnic (1990-1992); receives MA at LASALLE College of the Arts (2006)

    Orientalism, anthropometry

    Art projects:
    Lee Wen, Journey of a Yellow Man, No.1 (1992); Journey of a Yellow Man, No. 2: The Fire and the Sun (1992); Lifeboat (2001)
    Yves Klein, Anthropometry (1960)
    Lee Wen, Lynn Lu and Shinichi Arai and music by Kai Lam and Jeremy Hia, Anthropometry Revision: Yellow Period (After Yves Klein) #2 (2008)

*The 2019 Teaching Labs series, part of AAA’s teacher professional development programme, focuses on performance art. All of the artworks mentioned can be found in our online collection.

AAA’s Learning and Participation Programme is supported by the S. H. Ho Foundation Limited, and the C. K. & Kay Ho Foundation.

Publishing date: 20 Aug 2021

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From Drawing to Performance: The Lee Wen Archive
Programmes | Teaching Labs

From Drawing to Performance: The Lee Wen Archive

Sat, 11 May & Sat, 8 Jun 2019

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