Zulkifli Lee (b.1978, Raub, Pahang, Malaysia) is a multidisciplinary artist working in the mediums of painting, sculpture, print, and installation. Lee graduated from Universiti Teknologi MARA with a Bachelor in Art and Design (Fine Art) and Master in Fine Art and Technology, receiving the Master’s Excellence Award in 2013.
Lee’s practice explores the dynamic between personalized and impersonalized forms, using the language of materials. His works are often made from natural, organic mediums, such as soil, sand, and corrosion patina, juxtaposing the beauty of the relationship and paradox between humans and nature. Bridging Islamic aesthetic philosophies with contemporary principles and execution, Lee references traditional Islamic and Malay folk art to create minimal yet intricate compositions. His motifs usually involve systematic and rhythmic geometric patterns, but rather than striving for total control, he embraces the element of chance in the medium itself. Playing into the phenomenological aspect of the materials’ naturally occurring properties, Lee shares part of the image-making process with nature itself.
Since 1999, Lee has exhibited extensively in galleries and institutions in the region. As Rimbun Dahan’s Yearlong Resident Artist for 2017, he presented works inspired from the natural and built environments surrounding the private arts facility in his first solo exhibition Material, Order & Chance (2017). His recent selected group exhibitions include S.E.A New Generation (2019) Tang Contemporary, Bangkok, Thailand, Frictional (2018), Pearl Lam Galleries, Singapore, Lingering Manifestations (2018), Pearl Lam Galleries, Singapore; Bintang 5 (2018), Segaris Art Centre, Kuala Lumpur; Locals Only (2018), Taksu Gallery, Kuala Lumpur; The Unreal Deal (2017), Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur; and Young Contemporary ’16 (2017), National Visual Arts Gallery, Kuala Lumpur.
Lee currently lives and works in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Kait (Relate), 2020
soil on jute
173 x 173 cm
Arah (Direction), 2020
soil and limestone on jute
140 x 110 cm
Pola Pecah (Broken Patterns), 2020
soil on jute
73 x 73 cm
Garisnusa I (Nation Lines/Boundaries), 2019
soil and sand on unstretched canvas
109 x 100 cm
corrosion patina on canvas and stainless steel
156 x 148 cm
Mashrabiya (Window Screen), 2020
limestone and turmeric on collaged and burned canvas
200 x 170 cm