Lee Kuang-Yu in Cloud Forest
A Sculptor’s Secret Garden

Chini Gallery

August 6, 2020–June 27, 2021
August 25, 2020
Gardens by the Bay Singapore
18 Marina Gardens Drive
018953 Singapore

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"If The Falls site is without the 'Thinker' one would experience a magnificent waterfall in constant dynamic flow… Once the sculpture is placed, the site is transformed into another world… At the same time, it raises the question of how do we contemplate quietly in an environment in constant flux?"  —Lee Kuang-Yu 2019                                                                                                                              

Gardens by the Bay and Chini Gallery are proud to present A Sculptor’s Secret Garden, an inaugural solo sculpture exhibition by Taiwan-born sculptor-gardener Lee Kuang-Yu (b. 1954) in Cloud Forest.

Cloud Forest is one of the cooled conservatories in the internationally-renowned Gardens by the Bay, a national garden and premier horticultural attraction in Singapore that showcases the best of garden and floral artistry for all to enjoy in the heart of the city state.

Curated by Singapore-based independent curator Tan Hwee Koon, the exhibition perspective is from a garden and a sculptor’s art practice, inspired by his secret garden set against the stunning slopes of the mountains in Xizhi which began in 1998 as an attempt to unify his sculptures with nature. Lee’s Secret Garden, where his home-studio is located, is a culmination of his experiences of the tranquil home-studio-garden of renowned painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863 to 1923) in Spain; and visit to the Hakone Open-Air Museum, Japan’s first outdoor open-air museum of art located in a lush green garden with a view of the Hakone mountains.

Lee Kuang-Yu would like his visitors to find rest and respite in his garden. Lee Kuang-Yu’s Secret Garden is an ambitious project that embodies his visual and olfactory experiences of the plants, trees and air… in his garden—just like the sensory encounter with his sculptures.

For Lee Kuang-Yu, this exhibition marks a departure from his past museum exhibitions. The sculptures are released from the confinements of the white cube space and placed amidst lush vegetation, against the stunning backdrop of Cloud Forest’s 35-metre-tall epiphyte-covered mountain with its own waterfall.

In the cool environment of this garden under glass, sixteen sculptures are placed in response to various sites along three main threading themes—"A Quiet Respite in the Garden"; "Beautiful Memories"; and "Man and Nature as One".

Embark on an intimate and transformative journey of art and nature with Lee commencing from The Falls at the entrance with his iconic work Thinker paying homage to Rodin’s masterpiece and at the same time Asian sculpture tradition.

Next proceed up to Lost World at the top of the mountain featuring cloud forest vegetation around 2,000m above sea level, where Empty Procession dances in a state of bliss—in unity with the surroundings. The downward journey along the aerial walkway allows a view of the city and at the same time, a peek inside the mountain to see Wandering in the Misty Mountain and Hermit—Lee Kuang-Yu’s expression of the fusion of the human body with mountain body.

The exhibition ends in full circle at the Secret Garden at the base of the mountain, where Lee’s lotus pond-inspired, ephemeral-themed Timeless is placed in water within a surreal environment of limestone forest and caves.

Experience a tranquil moment in the heart of the city through Lee’s sculptures sited within the Cloud Forest—a subtle reminder of the significance of the garden as a refuge to find a respite from the hectic everyday life to immerse oneself within the beauty of art and nature.