Ken Lum was born in 1956 in Vancouver where he currently lives and works. His experience of growing up in Vancouver’s Chinatown has formed his perspective on the relationship between art and life, and provided a rich source of imagery and observations on which he bases his work. The early ‘furniture sculptures’, his ‘logo-portraits’ and ‘language paintings’, all have their roots in the streets of Vancouver.
This exhibition concentrates on his recent series of diptychs, begun in 1993, featuring staged portraits of ‘ordinary’ people alongside texts which are apparently the speech or thoughts of the subjects. These recent works focus attention on the personalities, feelings and problems of the subjects and Lum does not deny the voyeuristic element in the work. The images and texts combine to involve the viewer in the anxiety and humour of these everyday but emotionally-charged scenes.
A new four-part video work relating strongly in treatment and subject-matter to the diptychs, and made especially for the exhibition, is also included. This will be the first time Lum’s work has been seen in this country.
Organised by Camden Arts Centre and is supported by the 1994 Prudential Award for the Arts, the Canadian High Commission, the Arts Council of England and Visiting Arts