Title: A Psychotaxonomy of Home
Form: Paper sculptures & texts
Dates: 4 Sep 2008 - 4 Feb 2009
Venue: Baba House, Singapore
Artist: Michael Lee Hong Hwee
Curator: Jean Wee
Research Consultant: Lillian Chee
Contributors: Brendan Goh (Graphics) & Tang Kwok Hin (Paper Engineering)
Assistants: Micki Chua, Fan Jia Ying, Alexis Hy, Lim Zi Sin, Clare Tan, Jonathan Tan, Wan Jia Ling
Photo credit: han / yesterday was great, unless otherwise stated
This work investigates the function and representation of domestic spaces and objects. How is a house to be expressed as a statement of community and history? What symbolic attributes are emphasised and why? What does the accumulation and consumption of material items reveal about the inhabitants of the house? Lee explores a plethora of Peranakan symbols and motifs, mostly auspicious in nature and provides plausible interpretations to their readily accepted symbolic values. Visitors are invited to explore the first two floors of the house with all its decorative iconographies intact and ascend the 3rd floor Gallery to make cross references within their personal observations and general experiences. What can we ascertain about the Peranakan’s innermost or expressed desires? What sort of anxieties built up during the course of elaborate celebrations, rituals and festival observances? A question of the real and imposed, the speculative and the imagined come to a head as the artist peels away the layers of iconographic values, rich colouration and confronts the bare truths. Using paper craft, Lee carefully considers Peranakan preferred psycho taxonomies within nature, the animal world included, myriad mythological characters and deity within everyday domesticities of the home.
Artwork 1/5: An Almost Natural History of Social Relations
Artwork 2/5: Mirror, mirror on the wall: Which is the sweetest home of them all?
Artwork 3/5: The BIG Sweep
Artwork 4/5: Mail Order: Gifts from Heaven
Artwork 5/5: Will the real phoenix please stand up?