ITP Alum at San Diego Mega College Art Gallery


Featuring the work of ITP Alumnus, Alexander Lee (ITP ’04)

San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery presents:
Alexander Lee
September 3 – October 1, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 4:30 – 7:00 pm, D101 and Gallery Courtyard.
Artist lecture following reception at 7:00 pm in LRC 435

Closing event:
Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 7:00 PM Gallery Courtyard
Performance by Alexander Lee and Keith Moore, with Juliana Snapper, Kumu Hula Kapena
Malulani Perez and Halau Hula ‘O Malulani

The San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery is proud to present an installation by New York artist Alexander Lee.
Lee transforms the gallery into a volcanic seascape where sculptural fragments, large-scale wall drawings, and cultural artifacts reference the creation myth of the island of Tahiti. As a boy growing up in French Polynesia, Lee became fascinated with local lore and the fable of a young maiden who rebels against the gods, swims in a forbidden river, and, as punishment, is devoured by a gargantuan eel. Her rebellious act unleashes a chain of events that give birth to the Pacific island.

Black sand spills across the gallery floor as the viewer witnesses the clashing of tectonic plates, the devastation and drama of a geological eruption. The Expanding-Eel-Devourer emerges out of this primal muck, the body of the wondrous fish, cast in resin and black sand writhes around the room. Remnants of his macabre feast are testimony to the giant snake’s carnivorous desire. Disobedience leads to mayhem, destruction fuels creation.

The defiant act of the maiden references anthropological interpretations of the origin of Tahiti, where a clan of villagers exile themselves from the highly religious life at Opoa (island of Raiatea, formerly Havai’i) and, guided only by the stars, flee on their canoes to find and settle in Tahitimanahune, plebeian Tahiti. Lee’s narrative sculptures dwell on the process of cultural construction, the layering of myth and history that contribute to the development of the Polynesian people. His installations become artistic examples of this cultural sedimentation.

Lee is also preoccupied with the clash between Western and Polynesian cultures and how the creation of myth and stereotype from different perspectives contribute to the construction of the Other (the exotic native). He ponders on this conflictive and sometimes violent exchange, and sees it as “an ecology of carnivorous relationships.” Ultimately his artwork and the process of artistic creation serve as a quasi-anthropological case study that can render the Tahitian story of genesis and relate it to a universal truth: our human need to understand our origins.

The closing performance will be a “modern opera” where the Polynesian topic will be broadened to include the Hawaiian story of Pele, the goddess of fire. The gallery installation will serve as a backdrop and the performance will combine experimental music by Keith Moore, and contributions by underwater performer Juliana Snapper and the dance troupe “Halau Hula’O Malulani” under the direction of Kumu Hula Kapena Malulani Perez.

Guest artist Alexander Lee was born in Stockton, CA and grew up in Tahiti, French Polynesia. He attended Mesa College from 1993-1997 before attending the School of Visual Art (BFA 2000) in New York City. Lee received his M.F.A. from Columbia University in 2002 and M.P.S. from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University in 2003. He currently lives and works in New York.

For more information, contact:

Alessandra Moctezuma, Gallery Director

Pat Vine, Gallery Coordinator

San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery
7250 Mesa College Dr
San Diego, CA 92111
Tel: (619) 388- 2829
7250 Mesa College Dr
San Diego, CA 92111

Gallery Hours
MTWTH 12-4 pm. Closed Fridays, weekends and school holidays. Visitors may schedule
appointment to view exhibits at times when the gallery is closed.
PARKING IS FREE ON RECEPTION NIGHT. You may park anywhere in the lower student lots as well as
the upper parking area adjacent and across from the flagpole.
During regular gallery hours, use the visitors’ metered spaces or park free in the student lots,
Monday thru Friday, 12-5 pm. For additional information: or call (619)

Monday, September 21st, 2009
admin | Alumni News,Exhibitions