If you happen to be visiting the NGV this week, up or anytime up until the 29th of January, be sure to take a flower if somebody offers you one. No, this isn’t somebody trying to date you, but it will “trigger the magic”, according to artist Lee Mingwei.
Lee is the brains behind a floral installation this summer, in which a selection of freshly cut gerberas, carnations, roses and all other types of seasonal blooms will be exchanged by strangers.
So what’s the point in handing out flowers? Lee wants you to take a detour en route to your next destination from the museum, and most importantly, he wants you to pass on your flower to a complete stranger. “It’s about what it is to be a human being, and what it is to be vulnerable to be strangers”.
Lee was born in Taiwan, but nowadays he floats between New York and Paris. His affiliation with Australia goes back to his participation in the 1999 Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. It is one of four major works being presented in major institutions this year.
In ‘Sonic Blossom’, classically trained singers approach random visitors to the gallery and ask “May I sing a song for you?”. If the person agrees, then they are invited to perch in a wooden chair whilst the singer delivers a personalised performance of a Schubert Lieder song.
In summary, Lee approaches art from the left side of the field, “I see my projects as the social warp and weft between human relations”, he explains.
The Installation runs from Thursday 12th of January until 29th at The National Gallery of Victoria.