Photo: Jannes Linders


05/11/2021 — 05/12/2021
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'Time. And Again.' by Ken Lum on display at the Kruisplein

Time. And again. (2021) by the Canadian artist Ken Lum can be seen on Kruisplein from November 5 to December 5. The work was commissioned by Kunst in de Stad Antwerpen, where it was shown last summer.  

time. And again. (2021) by Canadian artist Ken Lum consists of a series of five posters. They show portraits that he photographed in Antwerp and combined with a text in which the depicted people express their relationship with work. About the worries they worry if they don't have a job, the problems it causes to combine work with taking care of their children, or about the impact of all this on their lives. The texts are shown in both Dutch and English. The overarching title time. And again. refers to the English expression 'over and over', a repetitive and ongoing situation. The posters also bear individual titles:

They Have No Idea How Much I Work
How Am I To Take Care Of My Children?
I Know I'm Lucky
I'm Always Waiting
What Am I Going To Do?

In the mid-1980s, Ken Lum gained international fame with artworks in which he combined photographic portraits with text or commercial logos. He sought friction between the image and the text, in order to question the identity of modern man. For example, by asking what the influence of advertising is on our identity. And also, as the scion of a Chinese family that emigrated to Canada, to diaspora backgrounds and the nature of hybrid identities. The tension between what we see and what we read crosses stereotypes and introduces different images into the public arena, which is usually dominated by commercial messages that are mainly mainstream represent domestic happiness and prosperity.

time. And again. is a project in transit, it shows the contemporary condition of precarity – socio-economic vulnerability – which plays a broad role and connects many places. The work is also meaningful for Rotterdam because Ken Lum already started working here in 1990 Melly Shum Hates Her Job realized that it has since been part of SIR's collection of public works of art.

On the corner of Boomgaardstraat and Witte de Withstraat, the smiling face of Melly Shum has become a familiar part of the street scene. In this work, too, the text conflicts with the image and makes you think so. Since 1990 it hangs on the side wall of the building where TENT and the present Art Institute Melly are housed. The latter – the former Witte de With Art Center – also derived its new name from this work by Ken Lum.

time. And again. (2021) was commissioned by Kunst in de Stad Antwerp. Curator Samuel Saelemakers took the initiative to show the work in Rotterdam as well.