Yavuz Gallery is pleased to present MOBY DICK (I AM THE DEVIL IN YOUR HEART), Ian Tee’s third solo show with the gallery. The exhibition debuts a new series, the ‘Moby Dick Paintings’, that references Herman Melville’s iconic novel of the same name.
In his latest exhibition the artist taps into the titular story’s central conflict between Captain Ahab and Moby Dick as a means of reflecting on the symbol of the white whale. In common parlance, a white whale is a goal that one pursues obsessively but with little chance of success. In his new works, Tee explores the psychology of “the chase” and the sensation of being caught up in the euphoria of a moment, echoing the drama that unfolds across the plane of his aluminium paintings.
The Moby Dick works are an evolution of Tee’s earlier ‘Target Paintings’ (2019-), which extend the idea of the target from the bodily into the abstract. Continuing to incorporate materials from his lexicon such as target papers, comic strips, children’s books, prayer cards and reflecting tape, the collaged elements in Tee’s works are held together by bold swathes of colour and gestural splashes of paint. The deep cuts into its aluminium surface hold a new graphic quality, recalling the motion lines found in comics.
Tee’s engagement with Moby Dick marks a new trajectory in his practice where the artist collides notions of narrative with the experience of seeing, where formal distinctions between imagery and gesture collapse.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Ian Tee (b. 1994, Singapore) is an artist working across a variety of media – destroyed metal paintings, bleached and dyed textiles, and collage. His practice is an exploration of youth, in relation to the themes of rebellion, vulnerability and identity. Conflating the history of painting with the energy of subcultures, he is interested in how aesthetic narratives can be reworked and recontextualised. The attitude carried is a statement about power, defiance and possibility.
Tee graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore in 2018. His work has been exhibited in exhibitions across Singapore, Sydney, Jakarta and Tianjin, such as at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Grey Projects, and The Private Museum. He was a recipient of the Ngee Ann Kongsi scholarship, winner of the 2017 Cliftons Art Prize for Singapore, recently received an Honourable Mention in curating for the 2023 Impart Art Prize, Singapore.