Lee Mingwei: Trilogy of Sounds (2010)
Lee Mingwei describes his artistic orientation as "social conceptualism". Visitor participation is integral to his projects. Born in Taiwan and currently based in New York City, he has often "focused on issues of trust and hospitality, particularly between strangers, creating both participatory installations, where strangers can explore trust, intimacy and self-awareness on their own, and on one-on-one events, where visitors explore such issues with the artist himself through eating, sleeping, waking or conversation". Lee's projects are often open-ended scenarios for everyday interaction, and take on different forms depending on the participants. Time is central to this process, as his installations often change during the course of an exhibition.
Lee contributes a sound installation composed of new work in three separate parts, which focuses on the artist's perception of the nature of contextual sound within the house and gardens. Whilst the visual senses are bombarded with cultural and decorative information, the sense of sound is curiously muffled, sometimes deeply resonant, changing with the echoes of sea, trees, wind and weather. Inside the majestic interiors the visitor listens to real and imagined sounds, past and present, public and private.
For the book accompanying this exhibition, Pieranna Cavalchini, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum wrote an essay, which you can read here.