Lot 1057
  • 1057

JANE LEE | In You, In Me

780,000 - 1,300,000 HKD
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  • Jane Lee
  • In You, In Me
  • Acrylic paint, acrylic paste, pigment,epoxy, reflective mirror on wood
  • 220 by 326.5 by 23 cm; 86 1/2  by 128 1/2  by 9 in.
  • executed in 2015


Private Collection, Singapore


Venice, Italy, Museo di Palazzo Grimani, Frontiers Reimagined: Art That Connects Us, Presented by the Tagore Foundation International and Polo Museale del Veneto, an Official Collateral Event of the 56th La Biennale di Venezia, May 9 - 22 November 2015


 Jane Lee Recent Paintings 2015 + 2016, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, 2016, colour illustration, p. 20-21

Frontiers Reimagined: Art That Connects Us | 44 Artists | 25 Countries
, Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte, Eventi Collaterali, La Biennale Di Venezia, Marsilio Editori, 2015, color illustration, p. 63


This work is in good overall condition as viewed. The work is made of 8 parts.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

In You, In Me (2015) is a visually astounding and monumentally captivating work by Singaporean artist Jane Lee. Spanning more than three meters in width, this lusciously tactile and incredibly unique work is the largest painting by the artist that has ever come to auction. Recently exhibited at the 56th Venice Biennale, the present work was a highlight in the critically acclaimed “Frontiers Reimagined” collateral show. Her involvement in one of the art world’s most prestigious events marks Lee as a significant voice in Southeast Asian contemporary art, presenting her unique and categorically-defying visual language on a global stage. Surging with the inimitable materiality and innovation that has come to define Jane Lee’s outstanding oeuvre, In You, In Me, encapsulates the profundity of her art-making process. Layers and layers of acrylic, built by Lee’s tedious yet meditative squeezing of paint, form the basis and surface of this work. Akin to a thick cake of icing or toothpaste, the work’s technically complex layers of material accretion, accumulations of white tempered by hints of pink, baby blue, red, yellow and silver, deliver an all-over effect that is at once aesthetically arresting and infinitely subtle. Our sustained experience of the painting is rewarded with a playful encounter, as the artist opens the dense surface with a mirror-like foldout, its reflective surface creating a space that oscillates between presence and absence.

Upon graduating from the LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore in fine art and fashion, Lee gained international recognition for her indelible approach. She is best known for her innovative employment of unorthodox mediums that reinvent the assumptions that often define painting. Pushing the limits of experimentation with structural form and textural physicality, her constructions reveal her interest in fundamental questions about art creation and viewership.   

Often times Lee sets aside her paintbrush and opts to wield the actual pigment to create works that straddle the divides between painting and sculpture. The artist explains “Paint has a life of its own and these basic components have many stories to tell. I see paint as more than just a medium to use…it hasn’t lived to its fullest potential…I see life within it.”1 In You, In Me is a culmination of various themes and displays the artist’s nuanced dialogue between texture and sculpture, abstraction and materialism. Many of Lee’s strongest works, as in the present lot, press into the three-dimensional realm, yet are rooted within the confines of a canvas mounted on a wall. While she continues to incorporate elements that are quintessential to the traditional expectations of what paintings are – such as paints and frames – she heavily manipulates and often deconstructs them to question the relationship between the object, space and the viewer. While Lee has acknowledged how abstract expressionist movements influence her practice, it is difficult to categorize Lee’s oeuvre as her artistic vocabulary is entirely her own.

The sheer size and immense physicality of In You, In Me draws attention to Lee’s signature textural techniques. The artist densely weaves individual spurts of acrylic paint over each other, covering almost the entire surface in a whitish hue. Upon closer inspection, one sees how Lee has mixed in a myriad of colors to create dimensionality within the work. Pure drips of brilliant pigment peek through the crevices of the dense lattice, while light pinks and blues are subtly mixed in with the white streaks that form the majority of the work. In its richly sensuous nature, In You, In Me delivers an endlessly engrossing and dynamic visual experience.  

In the middle of the canvas, Lee seems to carve out a “flap”, peeling the thick cake of paint to reveal an aluminum reflective surface.  Although the opening bears the resemblance of a window or the inside of a book cover, rather than leading the viewer into another space beyond the picture plane, Lee mirrors the surrounding space.  As viewers approach this colossal work, they become part of the work, their distorted reflection appearing on the metallic surface, if only for a fleeting moment.  As highlighted in the title of the present work, the painting also becomes part of the individual’s consciousness. The current painting is a continuation and development of Lee’s Boundless series, where punches or digs a hole in the core of the canvas to reveal a mirror within the thick acrylic. By heightening the viewers’ awareness of their role as spectator and participant, In You, in Me conveys a deeply moving statement about art’s potential to move and inspire.

Drawing from her ethnic roots, Lee references classical Chinese painting principles that stress the importance of negative space. Lee explains she was intent on deliberating the “essence of the void, the impossible spaces within, between and behind the object.”2 The polished mirror, which has been “peeled” back from the canvas, acts as an empty space--presenting the viewer with his or her own ambiguous physicality. Much like Anish Kapoor’s large Sky Mirror installations, in which “‘the space doesn't recede – it comes out at you”3, In You, In Me provides “a new sublime that’s forward of the picture plane.”4 Ultimately, the device not only adds an introspective element, but also offers audiences an opportunity to develop an intimate relationship with the work itself.

Jane Lee’s methods of painting are unparalleled and invigorate conventional engagements with the art form. In carving out an intrinsically individual direction, Lee has gained international renown, exhibiting across Asia, America and Europe. In You, In Me was completed in the same year as the 57th Venice Biennale, representing this pivotal highlight in Lee’s illustrious career. While the luscious, dynamic textures of the thick impastos beg to be touched and felt, the monumentality of the present work serves to confound and enthrall those who behold it. The immense scale, multilayered methodology and subtlety of color distinguish In You, In Me as an outstanding example of Jane Lee’s groundbreaking process.

1 Jane Lee, Recent Paintings 2015 + 2016, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, 2016, p.55

2 Jane Lee, Recent Paintings 2015 + 2016, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, 2016, p.55

3 Charlotte Higgins, A life in art: Anish Kapoor, The Guardian, 2008

4 Charlotte Higgins, A life in art: Anish Kapoor, The Guardian, 2008