Yellow Man, Where are you Going?
The “Yellow Man” series is arguably the body of work that Lee Wen is best known for. An exploration of identity and ethnic / cultural stereotypes, “Journey of the Yellow Man” was first performed in London in 1992, its motif of the journey expressing the artist’s self-searching in a foreign context and environment.
“Yellow Man, Where are you Going?” was painted just before Lee left for London to pursue his studies. According to the artist, the raw and spontaneous brushwork of this painting alludes to Chinese painting traditions which he admired, particularly those with Zen or Taoist inclinations, unhampered by formal concerns with painting surfaces. This forthright quality would go on to inform Lee's subsequent "Yellow Man" performances.
Lee Wen (1957– 2019, Singapore) was an active proponent of performance art in Singapore and was one of the founders of ‘Future of Imagination,’ a series of international performance art events in Singapore. A member of the artists collectives, The Artists Village and Black Market International, Lee also had his works featured in the Havana Biennial, Cuba, 1997; the 3rd Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, Australia, 1999; and more recently, at ‘SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now’ at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan; amongst numerous other international exhibitions. He was a recipient of Singapore’s highest cultural award, the Cultural Medallion, in 2005.