A Rhetorical Garden
Solo Exhibition by Lee Mok Yee

This body of work was largely inspired by the city of Suzhou, famous for its Chinese Garden landscapes. The designs of doors, windows, and floors in homes in Suzhou presented both Chinese philosophy and Feng Shui, which was riveting for the artist as it presented a blend of different beliefs. Bonsai aesthetics is a big part of Suzhou’s architecture scene in which is popularly incorporated to embellish homes and showcase the socioeconomic status of homeowners. In Bonsai aesthetics, rocks symbolise mountain ranges and towering peaks, whereas small ponds or springs symbolise rivers and lakes – presenting the larger world of nature in a microcosm; interpreting the harmony and coexistence between man and nature.

10 sculptures are strategically presented in an attempt to change the landscape of the gallery space, akin to the Bonsai aesthetics, inviting viewers to walk around the sculptures. The organic-styled sculptures are a result of the wood cork being spontaneously torn apart and yet, systematically built. This process involved stacking wood cork, piece-by-piece and layer-by-layer, becoming a meditation exercise for the artist as the recurring actions were an extension of energy that brought him a sense of calmness and peace. The fabrication process focused on simplicity and practicality, presenting meticulous labour and how the artist tediously managed the materials. This exhibition comes together as the artist’s response to the new digitised world where physical touch, intimacy, and time-consuming labour are seen as detrimental to our current fast-moving lifestyle.

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