190508: Mirrored reflections

Galerie Grita Insam: Ken Lum – Shopkeepers Rorschach Mirrored reflections The internationally renowned Canadian artist Ken Lum is currently displaying his most recent work at the Grita Insam Gallery. “Shopkeeper’s Rorschach” shows large-scale Giclée prints on canvas, depicting mirrored advertisements of Chinese fast-food restaurants, pizzerias, or tire companies. Lum does not choose big names such as Coca Cola or McDonald’s, but ads for local companies, which he comes across during his voyages around the world. In the year 2000/01, huge photographs by Lum, printed onto large plastic planes and affixed to the backside of the Kunsthalle on Vienna’s Karlsplatz were displayed. They showed people from different ethnic backgrounds to which sentences such as “Go back to where you come from! Why don’t you go home?” were assigned. The sentences were arbitrarily interchangeable and either stood in contrast to the people depicted or highlighted their habitus. With this work Lum clearly made the dubiousness of the term “home” visible; he displayed it a neuralgic public venue in the middle of a large city. In 2008 he is transporting something which is seen in the wider public – advertisements – into artistically abstracted prints and displays his work in the context of a private gallery. While text plays an important role in his 2001 / 01 work, it only has a marginal share in “Shopkeeper’s”. The mirror effect makes the text on the advertisements practically undecipherable: “The Palace Boots Shoes” become “Pai Bo Sho”. The question arises if language is at all relevant in this connection. And he further abstracts the picture by applying a “Rorschach test” an evaluation method used in psychology. Is it Ken Lum’s intention to confront the viewer with an “irritating method” and to motivate him to associate his thoughts freely? Or are his works quotations of a globalized public, whose (advertising) codes are so diverse, that we are no longer able to differentiate them? Galerie Grita Insam 1010 Vienna, An den Hülben 3, until 21. 06. 08 www.galeriegritainsam.at

Galerie Grita Insam
1010 Wien, An der Hülben 3
Tel: + 43 1 512 53 30, Fax: +43 1 512 5330 15
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