Although Chinese-Canadian artist Ken Lum's
works have centered upon the interplay
between words and visual images, his latest
work challenges the idea of the personal.
The work consists of a series of framed
mirrors with photographs nonchalantly
tucked into their edges. The mirrors vary
in size from diminutive over-the-hallway
mirrors to generous cheval-length mirrors.
Placed along adjacent walls, the
reflections they produce create the
illusion of multiple rooms leading into an
infinte number of other chambers. Unlike
the stagey tableau-like photographs of
Lum's earlier works, the photographs are
often candid and casual snapshots of
intimate get-togethers, picnics or parties.
Yet these obvious indicators of the
personal are offset by the relentless
Minimalist repetition of the severe,
rectangular mirrors. Identical except for
size, the repetition negates and sterilizes
the apparent personal significance of the
work. Moreover, only a handful of
photographs capture the artist's own image
and the other photographs merely delineate
the idea of "personal" as they bear no
relation to other. Indeed, Lum seems to say
that the personal nature of the works stems
from the viewer--when you ostensibly look
at the works, you look at your own
reflected image. The work casts doubt on
the idea of the personal through its
ambiguity which subsequently compels the
viewer to question what "personal" really
means after all.
Andrea Rosen Gallery, 130 Prince Street,
New York, N.Y. 10012.