Shoes and Sand Castle
Leather shoes, curtains, salt, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon
In Shoes and Sand Castle, the light beam gathers on the shoes that seem to be covered with dust, the traces of damage hinting at a retired formal identity. Follow the traces of the dust, and viewers will see sandcastles reminiscent of the ones built by children on the seaside, eerily presented on an indoor carpet. However, this powder resembling dust or sand is a mixture of various spices, including salt, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, hinting at the commercial and political conflicts that arose during the battle for resources during the Spice Wars. Through the displacement of bodily sensations and visual imaginations, this work places spices, which initially existed as supporting roles merely for "flavor," at the center of the "gaze," weaving the irreplaceable elements with historical imagery and consciousness to present the absurdity of desire, as well as a pessimistic imagination toward the development of economy and power.
Bottled tea collected from convenience stores and supermarkets
Spectrum gathers bottled tea from supermarket chains and convenience stores, and after removing the packaging, the color of the tea is showcased as a gradient spectrum. The work focuses on the collection of different bottled "tea" and reconsiders the "beverage" culture that is detached from tradition but ever-present in everyday life, as well as amid the context of globalization and localization. The large quantity of bottled tea from all over the world is a metaphor for certain cultural phenomena embodying changes in the memory and behaviors of civilization. These tea drinks, either local specialties targeting a small group of consumers or international brands marketed worldwide, are presented without packaging. Through the accumulation, a spectrum appears above the horizontal line, showcasing poetic attributes under commercial capitalism, reigniting contemplations toward people, tea, culture, the economy, memory, and the imagination.
When we were young, we would "personify" objects around us, transforming them into giants, flying dragons, or superheroes. As we grow up, we "personify" "objects." Lick was inspired by an eye randomly drawn on a wooden spoon for ice cream. The spoon is imagined as a one-eyed giant, and the short-torsoed giant is enlarged according to the original proportions of the wooden spoon as a giant, 240-cm-tall spoon, and the two are placed together. The contrast between the large and small bodies inspires the imaginations of a giant and an elf, while the absence of ice cream and conjured memories engage in dialogue and dialectical contemplations. Viewers will also notice that the small spoon is placed on a stand while the big spoon is not. Disposable utensils and their identities construct leaping possibilities for interpretation.
對於以馬鈴薯為食材，切成條狀油炸的食物，在中文裡俗稱薯條。然而在英式英文裡稱之chips。在美式美語中則為 french fries。關於這食物的起源也眾說紛紜，比利時與法國各執一詞。而從對此食物的指稱方式，也可辨認地緣文化上的差異。作品《法國朋友》以朋友之名，聚集美國運動用品商，以製造籃球聞名的斯伯丁（Spalding）網球拍與美國連鎖商店(chained store)的麥當勞薯條（French fries）。兩者之間的關係又似薯條的生產方式，又如躲在背後的陰影，影子的暗示、名稱的象徵與看不見的歷史，相互拼貼著某種權力上的賦予。當人們試圖「正名」或是爭執薯條的起源時，又是誰將七月的第二個星期五定為「國際薯條日」（National French Fries Day）呢？
Tennis racket, french fries
Made with potatoes cut into strips and deep fried, the delicacy is called "chips" in British English and "French fries" in American English. There are different opinions as to the origin of the food, with varying versions in Belgium and France. How the food is referred to also shows differences in geography and culture. Named "French Friends," the work gathers US sporting goods brand, a tennis racket by the basketball brand Spalding, and French fries from a US chain store. The connection between the two resembles the production method of French fries or shadows hiding in the background; the implication of the shadow, the symbolism of the name, and the unseen history are all pieced together, attributing some kind of power. As people attempt to "correct the name" or argue about the origin of French fries, we cannot help but wonder: who designated the second Friday of July as "National French Fries Day?"
transform into day and night and cannot find myself
21x27 cm each, 11 pieces in total
Painted with sugar pigment
Sugar coatings and food colorings are like our facial features, the first interface when meeting someone for the first time. The work I transform into day and night and cannot find myself uses the colorful sugar coatings of M&M chocolates and Skittles as the pigment for watercolor. Using a wet watercolor paint brush, the pigment is brushed off and applied to watercolor paper. Since there are six colors in a bag of M&Ms, I have painted six portraits; there are five colors in Skittles, so I painted five portraits. Despite their different appearances, all M&Ms taste the same, while the different colors of the coating of Skittles indicate different flavors. The emphasis on "S" and "M" differentiate between similar but different groups. By placing them together in a line, the transformation through appearances once again "re-presents" outer symbols, reinterpreting the possibilities of categorization, naming, and identity of snacks.
28x39 cm each, 6 pieces in total
Painted with sugar pigment
Also created with pigment from the sugar coating of M&M chocolates, round dots are randomly painted on watercolor paper. Pigments play decorative roles in food processing and do not have direct relationships with the taste of food. However, food added with pigment has more allure and adds to the appearance and attributes, while the mental effects created through visuals alter the experience. The M&M chocolates in Star Dust are initially imagined as stars of the universe instead of intentionally arranged on paper. However, amid the disarray, there is an intentional pattern that allows the dots to be seen as connecting and meaningful constellations; of course, viewers can also see them as small particles floating in space: star dust.
Sugar Ring Doughnut
FRP, baking paint
Sugar Ring Doughnut enlarges the doughnut and places miniature human figures on the pink frosting, which appear like decorative, colorful chocolate sprinkles from a distance. Up close, it could be interpreted either optimistically as small people leisurely relaxing in the frosting or pessimistically as figures that are drowning. The enlarged doughnut is not only a symbol of longing for indulgence in sweets but also represents nausea induced by excessive sugar. It can be a staple food and a dessert, a metaphor for "desire," straddling the line between necessity and extravagance. Furthermore, the colossal doughnut almost mythologizes the "food/object," turning it into an extraordinary spectacle. This food, devoid of a physical center, resembles an insatiable black hole. Through the viewer's gaze, it invites dual interpretations: admiring an object of desire or paying homage in a memorial hall.
Simulated grapes, fishing line, grapes
In a society where the minority follows the majority, crowd gatherings are viewed as "power" that represents the consensus of the collective, and those that leave the collective are often labeled as "heretics." Power" and "heretics" entail qualities that are at the same time connected and at opposites. The work shows "simulated grapes" and "real grapes" represented in disparate quantities. The "simulated grapes" are over 300 cm long, a state that is impossible to be seen in reality, resembling some kind of heterotypic growth under genetic mutation, hanging toward the ground from a high point. Another set is real grapes displayed as if falling to the ground and scattered across the exhibition space. The work explores the connection between "the collective" and "individuals." Through juxtaposing replicas with the objects that they mimic, Grape presents an overall sense of harmony that is not discordant. On the surface, it is almost impossible to differentiate between real and fake grapes. The "collective" is like a big family, but for "individuals," the real grapes that make up the minority also stand in opposition to the collective.
In dreams, red and juicy strawberries are often associated with allure and desire, perhaps symbolling the pursuit of allure and desire in life. Since strawberries are harvested in Spring, they are often used to represent youth, vitality, and innocence, representing young times, pure love, or beautiful memories. In dreams, the short cycle of strawberries' ripeness and decay hints at the passing of time and the brevity of events and objects, reminding us to cherish the present moment and grasp opportunities. In dreams, strawberries are often damaged by outer conditions and are seen as symbols of fragility, narrating the vulnerability and preciousness of life. As images that flash by in dreams, can they be understood logically in this manner? Or are they parables of the unreal world, paradoxically telling us something?
James Ming-Hsueh LEE Solo Exhibition Food/ Object_Matrix
Art Gallery, 5F of NCCU Art & Culture Center
Art Gallery, 5F of NCCU Art & Culture Center
Observations and Critiques on "Food/Object_Matrix"
Digital Arts Center, 2F of NCCU Art & Culture Center
Yin-Sin Studio, 4F of NCCU Art & Culture Center