LEE BUL: Exhibition

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Spanning more than 20 years, Lee Bul’s practice is much more diverse than the “Cyborg” sculptures that she is probably best known for. This is why her first UK solo show at IKON gallery in Birmingham is a must-see exhibition whose judicious survey of early drawings, studies, sculptural pieces and ambitious installations will tell us why Lee Bul is one of the most important artists of her generation. In fact, the exhibition at IKON gallery is part of the world-wide tour of her retrospective that has evolved and transformed into something unique along its journey. A journey began at the Art Sonje Centre in Seoul (2012) travelling to the Mori Art Center in Tokyo (2012) and then MUDAM in Luxumbourg (2014).

To coincide with IKON gallery’s exhibition, the Korean Cultural Centre UK will present Lee Bul’s large-scale architectural installation Diluvium (2014), which will be site-specifically re-created for the KCCUK. This is her invitation to audiences to walk into the seductively fractured and dizzyingly fragmented world of Lee Bul. Constructed out of steel, an irregularly angled wooden structure will cover the floor of the exhibition space. Then, the mirror-effect vinyl and taping installation will erase the sense of space by creating an endless realm of reflection and deflection. What is supposed to be a smooth surface of the white-cube will transform into a rabbit-hole through which the audience will be able to encounter the world of Lee Bul. This use of reflective surfaces is a feature that has often been repeated throughout her seminal works. For instance, Via Negativa (2012) whose models and drawings will be available to the audience when they reach the end of the exhibition space at the KCCUK is comprised of a labyrinth of infinity mirrors which forces the viewer into direct conflict with their own perspective. The actual installation will be presented at IKON gallery which will link two venues conceptually together. However, what is interesting about the labyrinth the artist creates lies in the fact that it does not have any hidden trick. In other words, it does not have multiple exits, or is without the doors to exit, but by simply following the path, despite the numerous fictional paths created by the reflection of the mirrors, the artist promises that one will “eventually find a way out of it”.

In Diluvium (2014) at the KCCUK, the audience will first experience a sense of loss in direction as the floor is fragmented and irregularly elevated, while all the surrounding walls will be covered with mirrored vinyl. While one becomes lost in their journey into world of Lee Bul, what they immediately encounter will be the fragmented and distorted image of oneself. Is it not only through a fragmented sense of ourselves that we encounter the world of others, whose world is as distorted as much as our own? The world of Lee Bul opens up to us a landscape somewhere in between, through a constant process of doubling and fragmentation and our will to make a sense of the world despite of all the obstacles therein.

Date: 13 September – 1 November 2014
Venue: KCCUK

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