We caught up with the 2020 BMW Art Journey winner at her studio.
Leelee Chan in the studio. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Janelle Chiang.
Leelee Chan is an optimist.
The Hong Kong-based artist, who is known for sculptures made from discarded and neglected objects, is riding high after debuting new work at the gloriously in-person Art Basel Hong Kong. She is also the winner of the 2020 BMW Art Journey, a prize that supports young or mid-career artists in creating new work almost anywhere in the world.
Chan’s latest project, “Tokens From Time” is the product of the first leg of her journey through Europe, where she visited artisan families who still practice ancient craft techniques with materials including copper, silver, and marble. Chan also spoke with scientists to understand how these natural materials might be substituted with synthetic ones in the future as concern for the protection of the natural environment grows.
We caught up with Chan at her Hong Kong studio about the best tools for tackling a variety of materials, her optimism when it comes to solving problems, and the artwork she has found to be a balm during the current political turmoil unfolding in Hong Kong.