Spirit House 光之屋
Taiwan, France, United States of America
- Other Title
- Media categories
- Installation , Sculpture , Performance
- Materials used
- bronze, concrete, rattan-wrapped stones, rammed earth, timber, lighting, glass oculus
- display dimensions variable
- Commissioned with funds provided by The Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation in honour of Daisy Chen 陳范儷瀞 陈范俪瀞 and the Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation 2022
- Spirit House
- Accession number
- © Lee Mingwei
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Lee Mingwei creates experiences that encourage participation. Human connection – whether it be tangible in the form of letters to loved ones, or ephemeral such as the gift of a song – is central to his practice.
'Spirit House' was inspired by Lee’s experience of visiting the Art Gallery of New South Wales during his first visit to Australia in 1999. At the Art Gallery he encountered a Sui dynasty (581–618) Chinese Buddhist sculpture and felt drawn to it. Lee was at a crossroads in his life and asked the Buddha to guide him on his journey. His wish fulfilled, he returned some years later and revisited the figure to express his gratitude, as well as the hope its spirit would guide another. Lee’s experience grew into the concept that has become 'Spirit House'.
Set within the rammed earth wall of a garden, 'Spirit House' is a domed space designed by Lee in conversation with architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa. Inside, visitors encounter a bronze Buddha seated in meditation. The sculpture was created by master sculptor Huang Hsin Chung in Taipei. Once a day a rattan-wrapped stone made by Shizu Designs in San Francisco is placed in the Buddha's open hands. Visitors are welcome to accept the stone as a gift and take it with them on their journey. In the future they may return the stone to the hands of the Buddha and share their story. The experience is equally meaningful when no stone is present.