Hammer and nail that went astray. Mystery unsolved. Andreas Vollenweider‘s weeping harp makes the story even more emotional.
LEE Kian Seng 李健省/ Hammer and Nail (1977)
[Kuala Lumpur] Have you seen two sets of a hammer and a
nail? Not just any plain carpenter’s tools, but artist-sculptor Lee Kian
Seng’s thought-provoking eight-set Conceptual Art series that somehow
went astray between March and July 27 (1987?).
One set, comprising just a hammer and a nail, is simple enough. The other has the nail rammed right through the head of the hammer. For the exhibition, the works were insured for RM16,000 but it could not be verified if the insurance cover had lapsed.
The National Art Gallery had borrowed the works from the Klang-based artist for the Palestine Week exhibition which ended on March 19 in Johore Baru.
Together with other ‘borrowed’ works including another painting and sculpture by Kian Seng, The Hammer and the Nail series, created in 1977, was transported back to the National Art Gallery on March 21 and left in a storeroom. Imagine Kian Seng’s horror when he turned up at the gallery last Monday night to claim the works, left unceremoniously in a yellow plastic bag. It was during the Young Contemporaries exhibition opened by Education Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Two of the sets were missing. Efforts to trace the missing pieces have so far failed.