Lee Mingwei did a LOT of talking (video) in this exhibition. The idea was for this [exhibition] to be highly interactive but in fact I felt it was deeply patronising to visitors, for example, opening a box tied with ribbon to reveal stories and photos of random people, being invited to write a letter to thank or to say sorry to someone, flowers in vases – ‘please take a flower with you when you leave the gallery and give it to a stranger on a detour to your way home’, bring an item of clothing to be mended … but you don’t get it back because it will become part of the installation, lots and lots of photos of Lee Mingwei’s family (one was enough!), lots of videos of Lee Mingwei talking about his projects and of course himself, lastly a couple with the guy holding the tissue while the woman blew her nose into it. Achingly banal and childish.
The only thing that was quite compelling (although probably not to Asian people as they will have seen this before, I’m sure, and only Westerners were looking at it) was the video of a Japanese chef in the kitchen preparing food – he was extremely skilful at cutting up vegetables and filleting a fish, over and over and over.