“City of the Sun,” exhibited at the SCAD Museum of Art, is a select reading of artist Lee Bul’s painting and sculpture from the past nine years. Through a multitude of material and media, including painting, performance, sculpture, video and installation, the artist engages with themes related to the historic and cultural endeavor for perfection and its subsequent failures.
The exhibition presents Bul’s explorations of the modernization of the 20th century, which are directly tied to her childhood experiences living through a shift in South Korean society. She grew up in a leftist dissident household in a militarized South Korean town in the 1960s during a period of restriction, surveillance and repression. In this environment, Bul's family was subject to police searches of their home.
Her experiences of the modernization of the country contributed to the development of an artistic practice that engages with the relationship between humans and technology, progress, architecture and larger society. Her early radical artwork employed her own body in public performances that challenged societal attitudes toward women. From these early pieces, Bul’s more recent work looks to architecture and human attempts at perfection. The artist draws inspiration from utopian principles and futuristic vision of architects like Bruno Taut. Through her meticulously constructed sculptures and paintings, she exposes society's failed efforts at achieving the ideal.
“City of the Sun” is part of SCAD deFINE ART 2019, held Feb. 26–28 at university locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.