What is “Reciprocal Space” about? 

Reciprocal Space is an online collaborative residency and cultural exchange between Malaysian-based artist Lee Mok Yee and UK-based artist Laura Porter, who both work in sculpture and installation. 

Across a span of eight-weeks, the two artists created art pieces in response to one another; pushing each other to experiment, share research and set tasks that challenge their practice.

Laura and Mok Yee found an affinity in one another’s work through their repurposing of materials and the deconstruction of everyday objects. Both artists are interested in how repetitive processes and multiplication parallel ideas of production and manufacturing, whilst exploring how structures exist within a space. 

What is the impact of “Reciprocal Space”? 

The collaboration between Laura and Mok Yee is a continued exchange of ideas since their first meeting at Middlesex University in 2013. In 2019, the two re-engaged with discussions about one another’s practices in 2019, and came together in March 2020 when Porter visited Malaysia on a research trip. Initially visiting art galleries and artist studios, the trip was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The online residency, however, enabled them to continue exchanging in a meaningful, practical way, and also opened up the platform to wider participation from other artists. This facilitated a broader and more insightful discussion surrounding various themes of development and decay, the relentless pursuit of productivity and impact. 

Apart from supporting a continuous friendship and skills-sharing between artists in the UK and other parts of the world, the British Council sees merit in sustaining projects that promote discourse on issues such as humanity’s well-being and impact of human activity upon the environment. 

Get to know the organisers behind Reciprocal Space!  

Laura Porter is a sculpture and installation artist, currently based in Devon. She is also the director and curator of Studio KIND. in Braunton, and a trustee of The Plough Arts Centre in Torrington and recently managed the Art Box for The Burton. Since graduating Middlesex University in 2014 with a 1st BA Hons in Fine Art, Porter has been shortlisted for the 2014 Collyer Bristow Graduate Award and the 2016 Broomhill National Sculpture Prize. She has exhibited throughout the UK and taken part in a number of residencies, including a residency and online blog commissioned by Tottenham Hotspur FC. She has received National Lottery Heritage funding to make a site-specific interactive installation for Left Bank Leeds and Arts Council funding for solo exhibition at The Plough Arts Centre, and was commissioned to make work during the pandemic by Arts and Culture Exeter. 

Lee Mok Yee is a Malaysia visual artist born in Klang, a port town near the capital city, Kuala Lumpur, where he currently lives and works. A graduate of first the Dasein Academy of Art and later from the Fine Art program at the Middlesex University of London, Mok Yee is an artist whose work is primarily concerned with the entanglement between the conceptual and the material. His work is process-focused and often interrogative of the aspect of ‘materials’ in art-making, choosing to work with ready-made or store-bought objects. Mok Yee re-arranges these materials as an act of interrogation against uniformity; pushing against the boundaries of function in mass-production, and in the re/arranging he questions the idea of moving within structures as an exploration of change and its futilities.

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