Lee Bul at Lehmann Maupin

Lee Bul installation View Lee Bul at Lehmann Maupin

In a solo show at Lehmann Maupin, Lee Bul will present an installation of sculptures, along with related drawings and maquettes that expand upon her continuing engagement with the fractured tropes and narratives of utopian modernity.

By turns strikingly elegant and obsessively intricate, the sculptural works in this exhibition delve into metaphysical and poetic concepts of architectural environments, evoking invented and imaginary landscapes that appear haunted by specters of the historical avant-garde—from Piranesi’s labyrinths to the Futurist dreams of Antonio Sant’Elia and, closer to the present, the cataclysmic visions of Lebbeus Woods.

During a career spanning more than two decades, Lee Bul has been recognized for a multifaceted oeuvre notable for the sweep of its intellectual concerns as well as its highly crafted, formally cogent visual vocabulary. Though she was academically trained in sculpture, Lee’s early works were often performative, exploring questions regarding the representation of the human body. In subsequent years she continued to cross genres and disciplines, producing provocative works that explored themes of beauty, corruption, and decay.

Lee Bul Lee Bul at Lehmann Maupin

As in her recent participation in Prospect.1, the inaugural edition of the international biennial of contemporary art in New Orleans, the works in this exhibition are the result of Lee’s current phase of artistic inquiry, constituting an imaginative meditation on the ruins of history, a glittering yet melancholic topography of collective utopian aspirations and failures, the vestiges of which continue to resonate in our consciousness and experience of the world.

Born in 1964, Lee Bul has recently participated in important exhibitions such “Mobile Art: Chanel Contemporary Art Container,”Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York (2008); and “Fluid Street – Alone, Together,” KIASMA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2008). She has been featured in solo exhibitions throughout the world, including the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2007); Domus Artium, Salamanca (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2004); Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow (2003); The Power Plant, Toronto (2002); MAC, Galeries Contemporaines des Musées de Marseille, Marseille (2002); and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2002). In 1999 she was awarded a prize at the 48th Venice Biennale for her contribution to both the Korean Pavilion and the international exhibition in the Arsenale curated by Harald Szeemann. She was a finalist for the 1998 Hugo Boss Prize. In 1997 the Museum of Modern Art commissioned the artist to create her signature installation of decomposing fish adorned with sequins for the museum’s Projects gallery. The exhibition was brought to a premature close, however, amid controversy over the work’s inescapable olfactory component. In November 2011 a traveling retrospective of Lee Bul’s work, curated by Mami Kataoka, will begin at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.

Text and images provided by Lehmann Maupin

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