Leelee Chan | Artist Book 'Primal Matter'

Primal Matter is an Artist Book created on the occasion of Leelee Chan's first solo exhibition Core Sample at Capsule Shanghai. The book, an organic collaboration between Leelee Chan and Eunice Tsang, both based in Hong Kong, is conceived as a pictorial dictionary to decipher Chan's artworks.


Chan’s assemblage sculptures and installations are comprised of abandoned daily materials carefully selected and going through a rigorous, almost-alchemical process of transformation. The book focuses on the individual components of the assemblages, in an attempt to bring out a plethora of personalities -- from a hair claw to a shipping pallet. The book was designed in Hong Kong in parallel to Chan’s 3-months studio practice in Shanghai, acting as a platform for dialogue and as a playful interpretation of the found objects that take up very different roles in the book and ultimately in the exhibition. 

The title Primal Matter comes from ‘prima materia’, a term from alchemy referring to the first material from which all is created -it is “body and spirit, chaos, microcosm, and the confused mass; it contains in itself all colors and potentially all metals; there is nothing more wonderful in the world, for it begets itself, conceives itself, and gives birth to itself.”¹

[1] Kugler. Paul. The Alchemy of Discourse: Image, Sound and Psyche. Daimon, 2002. p.112


February 18, 2019