Writings/ Photographs/ Poetry/ Archives
A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.
CURRENT WORK (1)
16 New Photographs by Lee Ka-sing
Archival Pigment Prints, 13x15 inches (image size 10x10 inches),
in edition of 10, signed on verso
20180320-0971 (eye), 2018
20180320-1312 (energy), 2018
20190218-02017 (feather), 2019
20180320-1634 (struggle), 2018
20180320-1859 (jellyfish), 2018
20190218-02012 (war zone), 2019
20180320-1604 (silk-cotton flower), 2018
20190218-02072 (vertical wave), 2019
20180320-2095 (future), 2018
20180320-1368 (flying swords), 2018
20190218-02019 (double valley), 2019
20190218-02002 (basin), 2019
20180206-9494 (desire), 2018
20180327-2527 (city planner), 2018
20190218-02076 (bellow), 2019
20180320-1868 (sunrise), 2018
CURRENT WORK (2)
Sushi Grass in Paradise (A story)
written by Holly Lee
with photographs by Lee Ka-sing
(4) The Library Holds More (Than Books)
The third floor library has one long and narrow window. On a sunny day, like today, Mrs. Bento is delighted to see a bank of definite light pours in, brightening up the otherwise dimly lit room. The slightly rectangular room is maximized for storage space, shelves were custom made from floor to ceiling covering most of the walls, and they are not completely filled with books. A few framed photographs, watercolour drawings are hung intuitively in front of the shelves, jumping from one point to another intervening the book space. Mrs. Bento notices some stacks were designed with the height in mind for storing music cds and movie dvds. Accidentally, she bumps into one of her favourite movies there - In the Mood For Love. She thinks, if she has time, she might find even more movies she likes from the lot. In between the books are occasional breathing spaces, where tiny, casual art pieces and small objects can be found. Say here, against a colour pencil sketch of a cumulus cloud sky appears a four-inch stuffed penguin. Its back is made with orange-base fabric, on which printed different camera patterns in white outlines. The white belly is scattered with little orange dots. The eyes are two small black beads staring at you in silent curiosity. Mrs. Bento couldn't help but hold it up with her left hand, gently squeezes its pointed nose with her right thumb and index finger.
And the adventure carries on. There are one two three four, four five-inch candles in Madonna's form, two red and two black. For some reason the red ones have part of the head burned. There is a black marble pyramid paper weight, the white, orange stripes and patterns really dispatch cosmic energy, so imagines Mrs. Bento. Here, in this hollow, wall-papered by an abstract small painting, stands a bronze sculpture of two figures entwined in an inseparable standing and sitting position. In another cavity she locates, perhaps the skull of a beaver? Also a fish fossil and a tooth of some sort. She turns around and her eyes meet a pair of small clay bird and dog, the red and black colours are tarnished, and the surface blemishes make them feel like objects of great antiquity: like two Guardians before some emperor's tomb. Nearby a black and white paper mache cat looks so animated that it seems walking and meowing at the same time.
Hmm, besides books and diaries there is more to discover.
A couple of shelves extending to the corner near the door have two stacks of vertical plastic postcard albums, each holding up to 90 pockets, 180 postcards front and back. They are all stuffed with postcards, most of them labeled on the spines: Master Paintings, Design, Europe/Sinjiang/NY Written PC, China and Old Postcards, Berlin/Ams., Japan/Korea, Poland/Prague/Budapest, French/Italian, New York, Postcards Written, MISC.
"Who will need postcards these days?" murmurs Mrs. Bento, "Postcards belong only to the nostalgic and romantic!" Just as she wrestles with the idea of opening up one postcard album labeled "Postcards Written", the door bell rings.
"It must be the Amazon guy", she closes the door quickly and hurries downstairs, hoping the delivery person still there after she's descended all three floors of thirty four steps.
"Sushi Grass in Paradise" is an on-going story. To read the last chapter please refer to the previous issue of DOUBLE DOUBLE.
The Time Changed... (#95P0131)
8"x10", c-type photograph
(work of 1996)
OP Edition, with "OP editions" blind-stamp
Edition 10/20, signed and titled on front, numbered on verso
OP editions are limited edition photographs from the OP Print Program we organized since 1995. After we moved to Toronto, the Program was still in operation for the first five years. Over hundreds of artists have been included, with photographs released as small format limited editions, in 8”x10” fibre-based black and white or chromogenic colour photographs. We plan to publish here, a selection from the collection on a weekly basis.
HONG KONG MEMORIES
a suite of 13 works by Holly Lee
A project granted by FUJIFILMS
Instant Film Transfer on paper, work year 1994-1997
Sheet size 9.5x12 inches, image size 7.5x3.25 inches
The Railway Station
The Capital and The Plane
The Group photos
The Public Transit
The Basic Law on Hygiene
Holly Lee’s Hong Kong
Written by Carmen Lee
For those who grew up in Hong Kong and are thirty and above, Holly Lee’s photos will certainly bring forth a lot of memories and strike a resounding chord.
Looking at her works is like reading a prose that portrays growing up in Hong Kong. There are many images that are from the 60s and 70s. Places like old Tsim Sha Tsui Train Station, the Botanical Garden and former Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank building were places that we went to when we were young. I remember reading an article on the same topic, the feeling of reading it and looking at Holly Lee’s work is very similar. This feeling is different from looking at historical photographs. Holly’s work has a nostalgic look to them at the first glance. It is because she has taken her materials from old photos and old postcards. The feeling of looking at them, however, is not like merely looking at some historical photographs which only remind one of specific time and space. Historical photographs are about recollection of the past, whereas her photographs evoke thoughts that are leaping and complex, shifting from past to present - like a contemporary person who grew up in Hong Kong speaking his past and future - a flash back of fragment of emotional and conflicting thoughts. The feeling is close to reading a prose.
Holly Lee’s photographs elicit an complicated mood that cannot be brought about by looking at an ordinary photograph. A simple photo can only capture a specific moment at a fixed angle and perspective, with an intent to document. The notion is simply to record objects in front of the camera. Holly Lee’s “Hong Kong Memories” has surpassed the limit of the fundamental function of straight documentation.
First, she juxtaposes two different images. Each individual photo contains a certain moment and symbol. They might be photos with a simple and straight forward content, for example: one might be a picture of a descending airplane; the other might be a runway. When juxtaposed together, they symbolize something beyond the original meanings. The work is now not a scene that was taken twenty years ago, but is also a fragment of thought on Hong Kong’s past and future. The runway represents velocity, direction and competition. It is not difficult for people to think only about the rapid growth of Hong Kong in the past and its current competition with China. One cannot see the end of the runway, and the lines on the runway are dotted. How is one going to run on this road? The kind of complex thinking of Hong Kong toward its past, present and the future, the emotions of love and hate and moments of uncertainty, can only be brought about by the one who was born and raised up there.
Holly Lee also employs the method of image transfer, by layering pictures, writings, patterns and mixed-media of expression. Works produced with this process usually have an unique and tactile character. They also have the quality of being separated from their original, specified time and space, differentiating from the realism of pure photography.
Setting one photo on top of another. When the images overlap, it is often hard to see them clearly. This is different from ordinary photography which aims to a clear image. Especially when the size of the image is small, the viewer has to come close to the photo in order to see it more clearly. One is forced to come close to the work and become involved with the intent and emotion of the work.
Take the work “Victoria Harbour” for example. If the picture was intended to be taken as a clear view of a beautiful night scene, the viewer will probably take a very brief look at it. He will mostly appreciate the lovely scenery and the photographic technique. But Holly Lee has overlaid the picture of the harbour with writing from a postcard. If the viewer wants to read the writing, he has to look at it closely. At a close distance, the actual space between the work and the viewer is pushed out. The viewer will automatically be led into the personal and emotional space of the work. He will begin to share the feeling of the writer of the postcards, as expressed in the poetic phrase “the setting sun is splendid, yet it is getting close to dusk”. Photography can easily elicit a feeling of peeping. But this work can turn a mood of personal nature into a common and shared emotion. The flying Union Jack is poked onto the past of everyone who grew up in the colony. An address in English is a mark that everyone who has gone through this part of history bears. The unavoidable ‘1997’ and the sun setting harbour produce a strong contrast.
Layering and multimedia is suitable for handling complicated themes. In each work, the image and the writing are interrelated and complementary to each other, expressing a multitude and diversity of thoughts and emotions that cannot be easily explained. In the work on “Basic law”, the beautifully controlled hand and the illustration which used to teach children basic knowledge of cleanliness, create a¡n interesting dialogue. The Bauhinia that lies underneath the illustration seems to be a hidden power that overwhelms a simple life.
Intertwined and complicated though are even more obvious in the work of Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank. The bank is a symbol of Hong Kong’s financial status. The layers of old wrapping paper printed with a child wearing an overalls symbolizes the past achievements of Hong Kong’s industries. Behind the Bank building are two people saluting. Interestingly enough, the illustration was done during a period when the Japanese occupied Hong Kong. The same gesture of salutation reincarnates itself here, this time foreshadowing the future of Hong Kong under a different rule. Under the layering, this serious issue becomes intriguing, but has not loose the ability to call for deep thinking.
Holly Lee’s works tell of the many feelings of the Hong Kong people. One could not stop but think about the past and the future of Hong Kong.
Written by Carmen Lee in 1997, a Chinese version of this article was published in the same year at PHOTO PICTORIAL.
A new set of Limited Edition prints of HONG KONG MEMORIES will be available soon. Please follow OCEAN POUNDS online shop or subscribe to the ON SHELF mailing list.
HONG KONG, TWO VISITS (2016, 2017)
an artist book by Lee Ka-sing
(Produced in January 2018)
125 pages including covers, 119 pages with photographs and 3 pages in plain texts. Format: 8.5"x22" (216x559mm), printed on 192 g/m archival matte paper with colour pigment inks, hand-bound and unique.
You can browse ALL PAGES at this link -
Individual PAGES of this book is available at US$400 each, with BIBLIOTHEKA blind-stamp, and signed on verso by the artist.
Enquire - email@example.com
Gelatin silver photograph, 11x14 inches
Work year 1964, printed in the nineties
Signed on verso by the artist
A Holly Lee and Lee Ka-sing online magazine. Published on Fridays.
Published by Ocean and Pounds and archived at oceanpounds.com
All rights Reserved.
Selective items in this publication are available at the OCEAN POUNDS online shop. For items featured in CURRENT WORK, VINTAGE, ARTIFACT, PUBLICATION, OBJECT, BOOKSCAPE and COLLECTION, please send a request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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leekasing.com is a portal website for current and earlier works. Apart from exhibitions, Holly and Ka-sing use extensively web platforms to display photography and writing projects. Contact us for a detail list of links.
Holly and Ka-sing currently live in Toronto with their daughter Iris, and their cat Sukimoto.