“May I offer you the gift of song?”, Sonic Blossom asked me. I agreed, and was led by her to a special chair among Lee Mingwei’s touching exhibit at Jakarta’s Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara Museum (Macan). A beautiful singer robed in exquisite garb stood a short distance away from me. She sang to me Franz Schubert’s Frühlingsglaube (Faith in Spring) and made me weep.
Born in Taiwan in 1964 and currently living in Paris and New York City, Lee Mingwei creates participatory installations, where strangers can explore issues of trust, intimacy, and self-awareness, and one-on-one events, where visitors contemplate these issues with the artist through eating, sleeping, walking and conversation. Lee’s projects are often open-ended scenarios for everyday interaction, and take on different forms with the involvement of participants and change during the course of an exhibition.
The experience is extremely fleeting, and sometimes it takes a lot of courage to accept a gift like that. I always tell the receiver of the gift that an experience like that is similar to the experience of walking into a garden and suddenly a butterfly lands on your shoulder – just for a fleeting moment. And it is so magical because you know it is not going to be there forever and there is no way you can plan this encounter.Lee Mingwei on Sonic Blossom