In our next Mixing It Up feature, Artist Pei-Chi Lee reminisces with us about the first piece of artwork she made, her best experience in the art world so far and her go-to tools in her studio.
Who/what inspires you and your practice?
My influences include the conceptual idea of ‘play’ in its different forms within culture theory, anthropology and geopolitics, the Situationist movement and concept, architecture and space to the mundanities of everyday life.
What is your best experience in the art world to date?
Commissioned by Cunard Cruise Liner! I always believe that my work can take me to places and It’s cool to see the possibilities of where my work can be!
What piece of information / advice do you think every artist should know?
Be honest to yourself and your work, cause your work will always reflect your mind And trust the uncertainty!!
Who do you go to when you need help / advice?
I will always go to my friends who know my work and who’s also working in the creative field. They can always give me some really helpful and honest advice!
Which 3 artists do you think are ‘ones to watch’?
There are so many! These are three of them popping into my mind at the moment: Holly Hendry http://hollyhendry.com/hollyhendry.com/Holly_Hendry.html
Caz Egelie https://egeliecaz.cargo.site
Magdalena Skupinska http://magdalenaskupinska.com
Which 3 curators / galleries do you think are creating the best projects?
Hannah Barry Gallery Alison Jacques Gallery Camden Art Center
Do you remember the light bulb moment behind your work ‘Everything Should Remain Possible’?
‘Everything Should Remain Possible’ was my residency project with Island Arts, Taichung, Taiwan. My studio was situated in a parking lot, and there was a massive window facing the parking lot, so basically everyone could see what I was up to. I remember when I finally figured out the mechanism of my prototype, there were random people chanting and cheering outside the window for me, I think that was pretty cute!
Do you have a favourite tool or piece of equipment you use in your studio?
Probably Stanley snips. It was a Christmas gift from a few years ago and it’s probably the best gift I’ve ever received. It’s such a satisfying feeling that you can cut through all sorts of metal sheets, saving me a great deal of time and frustration!
I am just about to get my hands into the Dremel hand tool set. After watching hundreds of youtube videos I have a feeling that it will be my next favourite tool in the studio!
Tell us about your residency at SESAM in 2021?
The theme for last year’s SESAM (Small European Students of Architecture Meeting), POLIKLINIKA, is focusing on HEALTHCARE, and its relation to architecture at the physical, methodological, and metaphorical levels.
In this residency, I proposed a workshop, ‘ Looking For The Eye Candy ‘, which resulted in a series of speculative installations after a week of brainstorming and spontaneous creativity with my team. It’s a collective creation that invites you to re-imagine the healthcare environment in a playful manner through serendipitous discoveries inside the spaces within Poliklinika.
Running a workshop and creating a collective project with a team means that you have to let go of a vision and release control of the original idea, and allow it to be shifted away. It was really hard at the beginning, but I learnt to enjoy the process day by day and let the process shape the project. That was actually my first time running a proper creatieve workshop, and it was such a rewarding experience, I had so much fun!
The residency was held at Slavutych, Ukraine last summer, and that was right before the Ukrainian war, so that makes this experience very surreal and even more special.
While the residency was focusing on the theme “Healthcare”, it really made me think about what’s my role as an artist in all these and how can I push the idea of play and possibly helping to heal the emotional wounds of war?
Where would you most like to create / show a piece of work?
What do you most need to learn?
Trust the uncertainty ha!
Can you describe the first piece of artwork you remember making?
I can’t remember the first piece of artwork I created, but I was really good at inventing games when I was a kid, according to my sister. I grew up in a factory in the countryside. The openness of the space offers me and my sister to play and explore the possibility of the world. I would turn all kinds of fields into playgrounds, my sister and I would be running around the fields and inventing our own toys and games from whatever we found on the street. (and that’s how I broke both of my wrists) (not at the same time don’t worry). It’s funny to think about how much it is related to my practice now, it makes so much sense!
Can you describe the first piece of artwork you remember seeing?
Edgar Degas, Dancers at the Bar
We had this painting hanging at the staircase at my childhood house, neither me nor my family knew who Degas was then, but I liked that painting very much.
I would sit at the staircase and stare at the painting, trying to picture who those girls are and how different our life is. I guess I was growing up in a place where everything is overly saturated, Degas’ impressionism painting with a pastel colour palette was very refreshing and peaceful to me.
Pei-Chi Lee is an installation artist, design researcher and illustrator. Her practice explores how culture & daily infrastructure can shape human behaviour. Focusing on the relationship between play, humour & wellbeing, her installation works incorporate movement in different forms. Using interactive elements as a playful approach, this becomes a catalyst to suggest new methods of thinking & interaction, encouraging participants to look at our everyday experiences from multiple perspectives.
Currently based in London, she completed her MA in Textiles Mixed Media from the Royal College of Art in London in 2019, having previously studied BA Fashion Textiles at the London College of Fashion graduating in 2014. Her work has since been exhibited nationally and internationally, and has worked on several projects, workshops and talks on the concept of playfulness and well-being’s strong relationship, in different contexts.