time. And again. (2021) Ken Lum

photo Jannes Linders
About the artwork

From November 5 to December 5, 2021, the temporary artwork will be available time. And Again. (2021) by the Canadian artist Ken Lum on display at Kruisplein. time. And again. consists of a series of five posters, which were commissioned by Art in the City Antwerp were made. The posters show portraits in combination with a text, in which the depicted people express themselves about their relationship with work. Such as the concerns they worry about not having a job, the problems it poses to combine work with taking care of their children, or about the impact of all this on their borrowing. The texts are shown in both Dutch and English. The overarching title time. And Again. refers to the English expression 'over and over': a repetitive and ongoing situation. The posters also bear individual titles, such as They Have No Idea How Much I Work., How Am I To Take Care of My Children?, I Know I'm Lucky., I'm Always Waiting. en What I Am Going To Do?

In the mid-1980s, Lum gained international fame with works of art in which he combined photographic portraits with text or commercial logos. He searches for friction between the image and the text, in order to question the identity of modern man. For example, by asking what the influence of advertising is on our identity. And as the descendant of a Chinese family that emigrated to Canada, he also searches for the spreading backgrounds and nature of hybrid identities. The tension between what we see and what we read crosses stereotypes and introduces different kinds of images into the public arena. A place that is usually dominated by commercial messages, which are mainly mainstream represent domestic happiness and prosperity.

time. And again. is a project in transit: it shows the contemporary condition of socio-economic vulnerability, which plays a broad role and connects many places. The work is also meaningful for Rotterdam because Ken Lum started the work here in 1990 Melly Shum Hates Her Job realized. On the corner of Boomgaardstraat and Witte de Withstraat, Melly Shum's smiling face has become a familiar part of the street scene. In this work, too, the text conflicts with the image and thus provokes thought. Since 1990 it hangs on the side wall of the building where TENT and the present Art Institute Melly are housed. The latter – the former Witte de With Art Center – also recently derived its new name from this work by Lum.

time. And again. (2021) was commissioned by Kunst in de Stad Antwerpen, where the work could be seen in the summer of 2021. Curator Samuel Saelemakers took the initiative to show the work in Rotterdam as well.

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About the artist

Kenneth Robert Lum (Vancouver, Canada - 1956) works with painting, sculpture and photography on a conceptual oeuvre that often deals with issues of identity in relation to language, portraiture and spatial politics. His language paintings from the 80s are based on the shapes and fonts of advertising, from which he makes illegible works in a non-existent language, in which shape and color are decisive. He has received several awards for his work.

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