An Encounter with Lee Ufan’s installation, Relatum
(formerly Iron Field), 1969/2019
This article examines an encounter with Lee Ufan’s installation, Relatum (formerly Iron Field), 1969/2019, to better understand how its affect and effects engage the viewer and how meaning and understanding emerge from it. It also questions Relatum’s relevance in 2019, fifty years after it was originally created. An analysis of Relatum through the perspective of posthuman theory serves as a useful method to explore explicit links between theory and a work of art. This provides a deeper understanding of the power of art and language to articulate the nature of being and the capacity and potential of each to critique societies’ values and practices. Drawing on notions of subjectivity, interpretations of Lee Ufan’s work and its effects as well as on parallels made between 1969 and 2019, this text concludes that Relatum remains as relevant today as it would have done in 1969. Further study is required surrounding the potential of art to generate a deeper understanding of the human condition and its anticipated evolution. Engaging with the implications of the radical transformations ahead would support debate and preparations for the challenges to come.
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