We had a chat with Max Lee ahead of his exhibition 'Imperfection', which launches this evening. The exhibition challenges us to embrace our imperfections and Max told us, "I was really inspired by a book called the ‘gifts of imperfection’. The book says that in our society, and I believe it’s true of almost everyone, we suffer from being constantly concerned with what other people think. ‘How should I look?’, ‘How should I behave?'.
Acknowledging our imperfection means remembering that we are all flawed, we are all human. And it’s Ok. Sometimes we make mistakes.
I want people who come to the exhibition to get this idea that it’s good to take risks and we don’t need to be perfect."
Max’s paintings show a diverse group of people and a few are self-portraits. He told us, "We are all equal. We are all flawed and imperfect but if you will accept it we are OK, we are enough."
The perfection many believe the fashion and media industries demand of women has been discussed a fair bit recently. We asked Max if he felt men were being pushed towards chasing perfection. His answer was interesting, "For men I think it’s so much about being cool. I've tried so hard being cool, doing cool things ,looking cool, not showing emotion. Perhaps when you look at the fashion industries, the message for men is always be cool. Being cool in a way means don’t do anything silly or make yourself look stupid. The more we are do that the more oppressed we are to ourselves, we stop dancing when we think we might look silly as we so often think that we can’t dance well enough.
In her new song 'Consumerism', Lauryn Hill sings, 'He is, he is, too cool, to cool, to be true, self destruct, self destruct.' I think this is kind of what i mean.
Me saying this doesn't mean I have overcome, I’m in my journey, I've spend so much energy trying to be cool. Many of my friends tell me they like me style but I still don’t believe that I’m good enough. I’m heading to 30 and my hair! Man, hair is important for men. But I have to understand that it’s all part of being human. We need to stop striving to be immortal. Imagine if with science we could look 18 when we were 80, honestly isn't that scary!"
Photos: Max in his studio
Imperfection – an exhibition of artwork by Max Lee
Where: The Living Room Soho
When: Opening party Thursday 16th Jan 6.30-9.30pm
Exhibition 16 Jan-14 Mar