The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
, presents December Ubs 12 x 12 Presents Tan Wee Lit, on view through December 28, 2008. Motivated by the disappearance of people considered missing, including his own great grandfather in Singapore during the Japanese Occupation in 1941, artist Tan Wee Lit creates sculpted figures as a tribute to them. Gathering names and information from both the Missing and Wanted lists from public records found at the City of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department, and someoneismissing.com, Tan Wee Lits hand-sculpted figures reflect on the lost potential of each missing individual and the personal anguish they left behind. Opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, during First Fridays on the evening of December 5, the exhibition runs December 6 - 28, 2008.
The sculptures are approximately two feet tall, cast in porcelain, and mounted on a square marble slab base atop a pedestal so the faces are at eye level with the viewers. The names, birthdates, and dates each individual was last seen are engraved into the marble base. The pedestals are arranged in rows facing the front of the gallery. Tan Wee Lit sculpts out of water-based clay and casts in porcelain as a way of re-constructing the missing individuals from dust particles that alludes to the fragments of memories.
The figures reflect a pale, ghostly, and translucent presence and commemorate the individuals disappearance as well as the loss suffered by his or her loved ones.
Originally from Singapore, Tan Wee Lit received a BA from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology-LASALLE, Singapore, in 2003 and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. He leads a gallery talk on Tuesday, December 16, 2008, at 6:30 pm.