Lehmann Maupin’s booth at Frieze London 2017 will primarily feature the work of Korean artist Lee Bul, alongside pieces by Billy Childish, Nicholas Hlobo, Shirazeh Houshiary, Liza Lou, Catherine Opie, and Do Ho Suh.
Lee Bul’s childhood in 1960s South Korea, a period of social and economic upheaval marked by the transition from military dictatorship to a democratic state, had a lasting impact on her practice as it piqued an enduring interest in how individual ideologies influence greater society. Drawing inspiration from numerous literary, cinematic, and architectural sources, Lee Bul’s work is a constantly expanding inquiry into the human condition. Her multifaceted approach to exploring these ideas, through performance, sculpture, film, painting, and installation, is indicative of her unique vision and innovative aesthetic that she has been developing since the 1980s. In her most recent series of mixed media works, Lee Bul combines organic and architectural elements. Using specialized paint that contains fragments of mother of pearl—a living organism itself—Lee Bul roots her otherworldly visions within biology. In previous bodies of work Lee Bul similarly explored the inseparable nature of biotechnology and the augmented human body, as well as the human desire to transcend intellectual, physical, and spiritual limitations. She broadens these concepts in her latest works by envisioning metropolises that look beyond the individual body. Retrofuturistic imagery is collaged with materials such as human hair, acrylic shards, crystals, and dried flowers. This latest series explores the intrinsic tension that exists within utopian idealism, which represents aspirational and optimistic impulses, yet is also suggestive of ruin, fragmentation, and destruction. The unfinished state she alludes to in these pieces is a reference to the persistent human drive to find a sense of “completeness.”
About Lee Bul
Lee Bul (b. 1964, Seoul; lives and works in Seoul) received a BFA in sculpture from Hongik University, Seoul, in 1987. Solo exhibitions of her work have been organized at Art Sonje Center, Seoul (2016 and 2012); Vancouver Art Gallery, (2015); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015); National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (2014); Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg (2013); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012); Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2007); The Power Plant, Toronto (2002); New Museum, New York (2002); and The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997). Her work has been included in important group exhibitions and biennials such as Score_ Music for Everyone, Daegu Art Museum, Daegu, Korea (2017); X: Korean Art in the Nineties, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul (2016); The Future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed, 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016); Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015); Burning Down the House, 10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea (2014); Prospect 1: A Biennial for New Orleans, New Orleans, LA (2008); Not Only Possible, But Also Necessary: Optimism in the Age of Global War, 10th International Istanbul Biennial (2007); and dAPERTutto, 48th Venice Biennale (1999). Her work is in numerous international public and private collections, including Los Angeles County Museum of Art; M+, Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Modern, London; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. In 1999, Lee Bul was awarded an honorable mention at the 48th Venice Biennale for her contribution to both the Korean Pavilion and the international exhibition curated by Harald Szeemann. In 2014, she received the Noon Award at the 10th Gwangju Biennale, given to an established artist who has produced the most experimental work that embodies the theme of the biennale.