Leelee Chan was announced as the ninth BMW Art Journey winner. Her research will explore the possibilities of ancient and future materials and will bring herself into dialogues with craftspeople, innovators, and scientists.

Leelee Chan soldering silver, 2020. Courtesy of the artist

Leelee Chan’s BMW Art Journey “Tokens From Time” intends to trace material culture from the past, present and future. The artist will visit artisan families that practice ancient craftsmanship techniques using copper, silver and marble, among other materials, some of which play a role in the artist’s own sculptural practice. Along her journey, she will engage in dialogues with scientists and experts to understand how natural materials may be substituted by synthetic materials in the future.

Demolished tennis court, Indian Recreation Centre in Hong Kong. 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

Investigating ancient materials and their future substitutes from the emerging fields of nanotechnology and biotechnology, Leelee Chan’s BMW Art Journey project gives expression to the evolving relationship between people and materials, and touches on contemporary debates surrounding ecological and cultural sustainability. Spanning from the hand-crafted to the industrial to the post-industrial, the artist's investigation of materials ultimately asks the question, “What does it mean to be a sculptor today?” In search of an answer, Leelee Chan plans to visit destinations in Europe, Japan and the Americas. Her final travel itinerary will be determined in observance of current travel and health regulations tied to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Used plastic pallet dealership, Tin Shui Wai Village, Hong Kong. 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

From ancient crystal caves in Mexico to marble workshops in Italy to high-tech synthetic quartz factories in Japan, the artist plans to investigate materials with the help of experts and craft practitioners, both as a source of raw material and as an inspiration for reflection.

Hong Kong 2020 Shortlisted Artists in addition to Leelee Chan

As this year's Art Basel show in Hong Kong had to be cancelled due to the outbreak and spread of the new coronavirus, Covid-19, the jury conducted its selection process online. Artists and their galleries were invited to submit digital applications, including a short video by the artists explaining their work and process. For the first time, eligible participants included not only artists from the Discoveries sector of the 2020 show, but – more generally – artists presented by participating galleries founded less Art Basel and BMW announced the 2020 artist shortlist of the BMW Art Journey, a joint initiative recognizing and supporting emerging artists worldwide.

Jes Fan

Jes Fan

Jes Fan is a Brooklyn-based artist born in Canada and raised in Hong Kong, China. Speculating on the intersection of biology and identity, his trans-disciplinary practice emerges from a sustained inquiry into the concept of otherness as it relates to the materiality of the gendered body. Working primarily in expanded sculpture, Fan often incorporates organic materials - such as soybeans and depo-testosterone into larger assemblages fashioned of welded steel, poured resin, and hand-blown glass.

Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho

Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho

Amy Lien (b. Dallas) and Enzo Camacho (b. Manila) have a collaborative artistic practice that moves from the Philippines outwards to other places, addressing localized iterations of labor and capital from the perspective of post-colonial damage. Their projects often involve an immersive period of research or living within a locale, during which they try to identify particular points of tension that speak to the selective disorganization of lives and worlds in the service of profit and development. The artworks that emerge out of this experiential research involve provisional experiments with modest materials (such as light, paper, strings, and sticks), continuing rather than representing the learning process.