Harbour Paul Lee

Press release

Javier Peres is pleased to present Harbour, the first Berlin solo exhibition by New York-based British artist Paul Lee.


Projected in the first gallery as viewers enter the exhibition is a video work made during the artist's residency at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. A photocopy of a boy's idyllic face (adhered to a window) occupies the entire frame, but, where the boy's eyes should be, Lee has cut away a rectangular strip revealing moving footage of a freight train as it passes 'through' the boy's face from engine to caboose. The still portrait thus becomes a meta-screen on which plays a familiar scene of the man-made.


From cut-up portraits to frayed towel seams framing nothing, themes of misplaced and displaced desire are constant. Lee's sculptural works collapse the prioritization of basic forms with a conceptual investigation of natural elements, physical effects, and primal human interplay with both. The artist works with a slowly growing lexicon of materials – some referring to neo-dada and pop forbears (light bulbs, sea-sponges, soda cans, magnifying glasses), others more banal (towels, pillows, sacks, socks) – to create work for the wall, the floor and sometimes both at once.


The repeated plaster cast of a single rock acts as least common denominator: a spec of dirt, an atom, a dense black volume. From here LEE expands into his select group of building blocks to consider and reconsider the potential within the set: the value of the light bulb as it morphs from a buoyant container of air into a source of light – then into the shattered remains of both; the towel as absorbing agent, as counterpart to human skin, then as subject to cement-imposed rigor mortis.


A fixed color palette enters the scheme as an additional variable: muted reds and blues yield muddy purples, yellow is warmth, black is the void, blue liquefies and stains. Meanwhile the constant – and often pastel – punctuation of verticals and horizontals recalls a longstanding, sentimental tradition of seascapes and landscapes (Lee began his career in Cape Cod's Provincetown, where he continues to show annually).


Paul Lee (b. 1974, London) lives and works in New York and will be present for the opening.


He earned a B.F.A. from the Winchester School or Art, England. Recent exhibitions include a solo show, "Resevoir" at Massimo Audiello, New York and the School House Gallery in Provincetown, MA, both in 2006. Paul LEE's works have been included in numerous group shows, including "Eliminate," curated by John Waters at Alberta Merola Gallery, Provincetown, MA (2007); "This is Not Called Gay Art Now," curated by Jack Pierson at Paul Kasmin, New York, NY (2006) and "Hung, Drawn, and Quartered," Team Gallery, New York, NY (2004).

Installation Shots