Tuesday, 2 September 2008

A Psychotaxonomy of Home | Michael Lee Hong Hwee

Date: 4 September 2008 - 3 April 2009
Venue: Baba House
This work investigates the function and representation of domestic spaces and objects. How is a house to be expressed as a statement of community and history? What symbolic attributes are emphasised and why? What does the accumulation and consumption of material items reveal about the inhabitants of the house? Lee explores a plethora of Peranakan symbols and motifs, mostly auspicious in nature and provides plausible interpretations to their readily accepted symbolic values. Visitors are invited to explore the first two floors of the house with all its decorative iconographies intact and ascend the gallery on the third floor to make cross references within their personal observations and general experiences. What can we ascertain about the Peranakan’s innermost or expressed desires? What sort of anxieties built up during the course of elaborate celebrations, rituals and festival observances? A question of the real and imposed, the speculative and the imagined come to a head as the artist peels away the layers of iconographic values, rich colouration and confronts the bare truths. Using book craft, Lee carefully considers Peranakan preferred psycho taxonomies within nature, the animal world included, myriad mythological characters and deity within everyday domesticities of the home.


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