David Lee

2018,BA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL

"What makes humans human? Using and inventing tools? The ability to communicate and create societies? Being able to feel and express emotions? Each of the above could be said to be true. However, in line with Descartes principle of ‘cogito ergo sum’, I believe thought itself ascribes the human quality. Thought is the process of reviewing memory fragments, collected by the five senses through conscious and unconscious thought, leading to decisions, actions, or creative ideas. We can feel emotions, acknowledge the existence of our ego, imagine and think creatively because of these interlinked processes of cognition.
 
A human is born and develops senses in a certain environment. Through its senses, it collects experience, knowledge, and develops a familiarity with its environment which is compressed into memories that become the ‘fuel’ for the processes of thought. Memories of these experiences form the ego that becomes regarded as the individual. Individuals assimilate into groups as they communicate and sympathise with those with a similar understanding from a similar environment. Those groups coincide or contrast with others to create cultures and nations. These cultural or national identities form the environment in which another human being will live out its life. This creates a cyclical process which reinforces a particular identity.
 
Growing up in multiple environments, I broke from this familiar pattern and found myself alienated and felt left out, lonely and depressed by homogenous identities. Struggling to reconcile a fragmented ego, I decided look back through my memories and past to understand how I have been built up by different knowledges and cultures to seek who I am now. By combining my positive and negative memories with what I have learned about other cultures I was able to achieve a reasonably objective understanding of myself and my own formation. Through introspection, I was able to theorise how one human being can be formed, so a relationship, a community, and eventually how a nation can be formed. I looked squarely at my past to acknowledge and understand, thus I rediscovered myself as distinctive individual settled in this contemporary world implicating broad cultures, societies and knowledges but at the same time not implicated by those. Recently, ideological conflict between peoples has been quelled by the processes of globalization, sharing of technologies and education. This creates opportunities for people to widen their perspective. What was previously held as irrefutable truth may now be seen as a valid, but not absolute. Hence modern humans can define themselves in line with a selective individualism. I believe that as this continues, the demographic and cultural changes brought about will result in a world where matters of ethnicity, nationality and class become peripheral, and so cyclically reinforced identities will dissipate, resulting in a new age where people interact based on ego alone. As an artist, my work and research is about representing people rediscovering their ego by reflecting on their past and present and opening themselves to this new contemporary flow. It became a journey of continual personal discovery and gave me a new appreciation for my own existence."
Dream(ii)
Painting 
150 cm x 120 cm
Journey (i)
Painting 
150 cm x 120 cm
Journey (ii)
Painting 

150 cm x 120 cm

Follow Orbit

  • facebook icon
  • instagram icon

ART GRADUATES

SHOW