Preview: November 26
Public days: November 27–30
For the inaugural edition of Hong Kong Spotlight, Lehmann Maupin is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Lee Bul, one of the most radical and internationally regarded figures in contemporary Korean art. Featuring recent mixed media paintings from her Perdu series, this will be Lee Bul’s first exhibition of paintings in Hong Kong.
Lee Bul was born in the 1960s in South Korea under the country’s military dictatorship. She came of age during a period of social and economic upheaval marked by the transition to a democratic state. The political shift experienced during her lifetime has informed much of her work and has been expressed in various ongoing themes over the course of her career, drawing inspiration from numerous literary, cinematic, and architectural sources. Lee Bul’s work is a constantly expanding inquiry into the human condition and the failure of utopian dreams.
In her most recent Perdu works, Lee Bul explores the binary between the artificial and the organic, both conceptually and materially. Composed of organic and inorganic material such as mother of pearl, velvet and acrylic paint, the artist’s otherworldly visions of fragmented bodies are seemingly caught on the move, at various distances and in differing detail. For Lee Bul, these works are connected to earlier pieces that explored corporeal and linguistic themes, such as those in her Cyborg (1997–2011) and Anagram (1999–2006) series. The unfinished state of the forms in the Perdu works and overall theme of a physical and metaphorical yearning for completeness is rooted in these past iterations where anagrams, like cyborgs, are formed from reconfigurable parts.
The term perdu translates from French as “lost,” and is notably used in Proust’s À la Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time), 1913–1927. In English, perdu can mean hidden or obscure, and is also a military term for soldiers assigned to a highly dangerous mission. Recently, Lee Bul has turned to militarization as a theme perpetually linked to the human condition, one that is almost tangential to utopia. This was best expressed in her monumental Aubade V (2019) sculpture included in the 58th Venice Biennale exhibition May You Live in Interesting Times.
Lee Bul’s work is the subject of a major survey exhibition Utopia Saved at the Manege Central Exhibition Hall, St. Petersburg, Russia; and the upcoming solo exhibition Lee Bul: Beginning opening in February 2021 at Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea.
About Lehmann Maupin
Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin founded Lehmann Maupin in 1996. The gallery represents a diverse range of contemporary artists and estates from around the world. Since inception, Lehmann Maupin has been instrumental in introducing international artists in new geographies. This mission has resulted in historic first exhibitions in New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul. The gallery opened its newest location in London in October 2020.