Bondage Baggage Prototype 4

Artist: Maia Ruth Lee
installation | Tarp, rope, tape, luggage, used clothing, and bedding | 1702x889x533mm | 2018

In Bondage Baggage, Lee re-creates packages that she grew up seeing in the Kathmandu Tribhuvan Airport in Nepal: luggage that Nepalese migrant workers packed when they returned home from employment in the Middle East. Tightly bound with rope, tape, tarp, fabrics, and cardboard for added security, Bondage Baggage models a condition of the self, as well as concepts of self-preservation, diaspora, the family, and the economic oppression of developing countries. Maia Ruth Lee’s steel glyphs explore a new lexicon built with appropriated scrap metal motifs. Using salvaged steel elements that usually embellish and strengthen New York’s fences and window-bars, Lee explores ideas of boundary, security, and translation, so that LABYRINTH functions as a sculptural glossary of decorative armor. Lee intends for these steel glyphs in LABYRINTH to slow our attention. She notes that unlike a maze, which invites us to puzzle a solution out of its many pathways, a labyrinth offers a single route and a meditative experience. (Image courtesy the artist and Jack Hanley Gallery, New York. Photograph by Brad Farwell)


Whitney Biennial 2019 | 2019.05.17 - 2019.09.22 | Whitney Museum of American Art(New York City, NY, United States)