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Tim Lee

The Jerk, Carl Reiner, 1979


Tim Lee
Born in Seoul in 1975


The Jerk, Carl Reiner, 1979




Digital chromogenic print, Lightjet process


206.3 x 178.6 cm (sight)


Purchase, the Canada Council for the Arts' Acquisition Assistance Program and the Jean Agnes Reid Fleming and Geraldine C. Chisholm Bequests, inv. 2006.79


Graphic Arts

In The Jerk, Carl Reiner, 1979, Tim Lee makes reference to a film in which Steve Martin plays a young white man who thinks he is black because he was adopted and raised by a black family. The main character of The Jerk invents an optical procedure that makes him rich, and then brings about his downfall because it makes those who use it squint. Tim Lee’s work shows the artist squinting. Taken right-side up, the photograph is shown upside down. Another film from the same series (The Jerk, The Opti-grab, 1979, 2004) shows Tim Lee’s glasses subjected to the same optical invention as in the film. Steve Martin reappears in other Tim Lee works. In Untitled (Steve Martin, 1972) (2005), Lee is playing the banjo, taking it seriously despite his astonishing headwear. He is photographed in a mirror.

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