Lee Mingwei: The Gifts of ConnectionInternationally renowned artist Lee Mingwei explores the power of everyday interactions, creating engaging, participatory installations where strangers can come together and share their stories.
AboutInternationally renowned artist Lee Mingwei explores the power of everyday interactions, creating engaging, participatory installations where strangers can come together and share their stories.
In The Gifts of Connection, Kimball Art Center presents four of Lee’s celebrated works, The Mending Project, The Tourist, The Living Room and 100 Days with Lily. Inviting explorations of interconnection, trust, and intimacy, his purposefully open-ended work evolves and takes on different forms with the involvement of various participants, constantly changing during the course of an exhibition.
Born in Taiwan in 1964, Lee Mingwei, currently residing in Paris, Taipei, and New York, creates participatory installations that enable strangers to engage with concepts of trust, intimacy, and self-awareness. Additionally, Lee conducts one-on-one events in which he and visitors explore these themes through daily activities like eating, sleeping, writing, and conversing. His projects often present open-ended scenarios for everyday interactions, adapting and transforming with participant involvement throughout an exhibition’s duration.
Lee received his MFA from Yale University in 1997 and has since showcased his solo exhibitions internationally at venues including the Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, Gropius Bau, Sydney Modern, Taipei Fine Art Museum, Mori Art Museum, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Auckland Art Gallery, Art Museum Ateneum, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has also been featured in Biennials in Venice, Lyon, Sharjah, Liverpool, Taipei, Sydney, Echigo-Tsumari, Whitney, and the Asia Pacific Triennials.
His mid-career survey exhibition, “Lee Mingwei and His Relations: The Art of Participation,” was presented at Mori Art Museum in 2014, traveled to Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Auckland Art Gallery. Lee’s European survey, “Lee Mingwei: Li, Gifts, and Rituals,” was on view at Gropius Bau in 2020 followed by Museum Villa Stuck. In the coming years of 2023 and 2024, he plans to unveil his projects and new creations in countries including Denmark, France, South Korea, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States.
2009 – present
Mixed media interactive installation
Tables, chairs, thread, fabric items
The Mending Project is an interactive installation in which the act of mending a damaged textile (brought in by a museum visitor) becomes the point of departure for reflection on connection: the powerful moment of sharing between the textile’s owner and its mender, which happens when they sit down together at a table. Unlike a tailor, who will try to hide the fact that the fabric was once damaged, this mending is done with the idea of celebrating the repair, as if to say, “something good was done here, a gift was given, this fabric is even better than before.”
Participatory Opportunity: Visitors can come in with a piece of clothing that needs to be mended, sit at the table across from the mender and have a meaningful conversation with the mender and an opportunity to connect with a stranger. All items will be returned prior to the guest leaving the exhibition. Due to the participatory nature of this project, the experience changes daily.
Volunteer Opportunity: Help with the mending process! The Kimball Art Center is seeking volunteers to be a “Mending Host,” where you will act on behalf of the artist to mend garments brought in by exhibition visitors and engage in conversation during the mending process. Learn More & Apply
November 18, 2023 – February 25, 2024
Tuesday – Friday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday – Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
2001 – present
Mixed media interactive installation
If you were giving a tour of your home city to someone, what places and stories would become part of that tour? In The Tourist, a collection of photographs, music, and objects document Lee’s role as a tourist in 13 cities across the world, each led by a tour guide who shared a personal tour of their own city based on locations significant to them guided by their memories and emotions. Park City has been added to this project and will debut at Kimball Art Center, with a tour led by Teresita Hernandez.
2000 – present
Mixed media interactive installation
Sofa, coffee table, carpet, lamp, plants
In The Living Room, Lee transforms one of the Kimball Art Center’s galleries into a living room, allowing diverse members of the Park City community to act as hosts in that space. Each host is invited to bring in a selection of objects having personal or aesthetic significance, and engage visitors in dialogues about these objects. Sharing their personal collections of treasured objects, and allowing visitors to have encounters with the host and collection, this project allows us to examine questions such as, “Why and what do we collect?” and “How do we relate to our collections?”
Silver dye bleach prints (ilfochrome)
5 pieces, 166.5 x 115 cm each
In 100 Days with Lily, Lee documents his process of grieving the death of his grandmother. Living with a lily for 100 days, keeping it close by his side 24 hours a day, he witnessed its sprouting, blossoming, fading, and death, experiencing a full cycle of its life and, by extension, his grandmother’s and his own. Five photographs overlaid with text document various stages of the flower’s life cycle and the artist’s daily activities.
Internationally renowned artist Lee Mingwei blurs art and life in his work, revealing the potential for beauty in our everyday interactions. In The Gifts of Connection, four of his major works—100 Days with Lily, The Tourist, The Living Room, and The Mending Project—come together, demonstrating his longstanding interest in uniting people through simple, shared moments.
Both volunteers and visitors are often central to the completion of Lee’s work, with his open-ended and participatory projects creating space for meaningful one-on-one encounters to occur. A treasured piece of clothing or an object from someone’s living room, for example, become a departure point for intimate exchanges, inspired by how these physical items can symbolically hold our deep-felt emotions and experiences. Each project is given form by the generosity and openness of its participants, and the experience of some works can powerfully shift from day to day.
Lee’s work explores art’s potential as a transformative gift–an offering or exchange between two people. With installations that enable strangers to explore trust, intimacy, and self-awareness, the artist celebrates the possibilities of our everyday, unpredictable, and ultimately meaningful connections.
Visiting the Exhibition
Our international quality art exhibitions are a catalyst for growth and an outlet for reflection fostering new ways of thinking and encouraging compassion.
Exhibition interactives, developed by our education department in partnership with our curatorial team and exhibiting artists, encourage visitors to creatively engage with and reflect on the exhibition themes, ideas, questions, and artists’ materials and artistic processes. These exercises break down theories and techniques that can be complex into something fun and engaging for people of all ages.
Visitors looking for more hands-on art experiences should explore upcoming classes and workshops.
Kimball Art Center supplements our exhibitions with a variety of free and low-cost programming to expand on the work presented in our galleries. This includes community receptions, panel discussions, book clubs, artist critiques, and more.
If you enjoy deeper discussions about art or desire a more intimate dialogue, please consider joining us for any of our upcoming exhibition programming.
6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
5:30 - 7:00 PM