Tens of thousands of flowers will be gifted between strangers as part of Taiwanese-American artist Lee Mingwei’s The Moving Garden – opening at the National Gallery of Victoria on Saturday 15 October 2016.
Lee is internationally recognised as one of the leading creators of art which invites audience participation, and this acclaimed artwork will create unexpected encounters for visitors to the gallery.
“In this project I present a space with beautiful, fresh flowers,” says Lee. “Museum guests are invited to take one of these flowers with them when they leave the museum, if they will agree to do two things: first, to make a detour from their intended route when leaving the museum for their next destination; second, along this detour, to give the flower to a stranger who they feel would benefit from this unexpected act of generosity.”
Presented as part of the inaugural Asia TOPA: Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts, leading Melbourne florist Flowers Vasette has partnered with the NGV to provide 1,000 fresh flowers for each of the 106 days of the exhibition, totalling 106,000 flowers.
“Lee’s artwork inspires contemplation of social themes like trust and self-awareness, by encouraging one-on-one interactions between strangers,” says Tony Ellwood, Director NGV. “The Moving Garden will also challenge the traditional relationship between art and audience, with each flower picked adding the story of the participant to that of the artwork.”
Born in Taiwan in 1964 and currently living in New York City and Paris, Lee Mingwei creates participatory installations, where strangers can explore issues of trust, intimacy, and self-awareness, and one-on-one events, where visitors contemplate these issues with the artist through eating, sleeping, walking and conversation. Lee’s projects are often open-ended scenarios for everyday interaction, and take on different forms with the involvement of participants and change during the course of an exhibition.
Lee received an MFA from Yale University in 1997, and has held solo exhibitions internationally including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Mori Art Museum, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art and has been featured in biennials in Venice, Lyon, Liverpool, Taipei, Sydney, Whitney, and Asia Pacific Triennials.
Lee’s mid-career survey exhibition Lee Mingwei and His Relations was recently on view at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and Taipei Fine Arts Museum, and will travel to Auckland Art Gallery in 2016. His project, Sonic Blossom was recently presented at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Lee Mingwei: The Moving Garden
NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Exhibition: 15 October 2016 – 29 January 2017
For more information, visit: www.ngv.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: Lee Mingwei, The Moving Garden 2009/2015 mixed media interactive installation, granite, fresh flowers 1200 x 134 x 60 cm. Installation view at Lee Mingwei and His Relations, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan, 2015 – photo courtesy: Taipei Fine Arts Museum