VISIBILITY IS A TRAP

Ian Tee

2020
Acrylic, target papers, comic strips, reflective tape and collage on destroyed aluminium composite panel
200 x 150 cm (panel)

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This title is a nod to Michel Foucault’s theory of Panopticism in ‘Discipline and Punish’, in which an individual is kept under constant scrutiny with no retreat or privacy. For Foucault, the panopticon represents the way in which discipline and punishment work in modern society – it is a diagram of power in action because by looking at a plan of the panopticon, one realizes how the processes of observation and examination operate. It induces a sense of permanent visibility that ensures the functioning of authority.

The use of the reflective tape captures a similar tension, its luminosity signals presence but can also be used to demarcate boundaries. Two yellow reflective bands close in on the painting’s composition, directing the observer’s gaze to only a pair of eyes that look back. The X-Men comic page reveals the moment when Magneto informs the New Mutants of Larry Bodine’s demise. Bodine’s characterisation underscores the need for secrecy about his condition but also craves acceptance from his peers.

About the Artist

Ian Tee's practice explores youth culture, in relation to the genres of rebellion, vulnerability and identity. Working with mixed-media paintings on aluminium, his works conflate the history of painting with the vigour of subcultures. The attitude carried is a statement about power, defiance and possibility. He will present a new body of works where he explores the saying “kill your darlings”; a phrase which speaks about removing and suppressing indulgences for the sake of a larger story/ trajectory.

Ian Tee will be presenting his works at Yavuz Gallery. He is represented by Yavuz Gallery.