Back To Top

Gallery Exhibitions

Museum Exhibitions & Projects

TRIENNIAL

Echigo-Tsumari Art Tr...
Tokamachi City, Japan

July 26 – September 13, 2015

Biennial

Gwangju Biennale

September 5 – November 9, 2014

Store

Artist Bio

Lee Bul

PRESS

Financial Times

January 11, 2017

News

Video: Lee Bul’s Monumental Sydney Biennale Dreamscape Artinfo

April 14 2016

News

'Embassy of The Real': a Biennale of Sydney satellite show on Cockatoo Island Wallpaper* Magazine

March 24 2016

News

Artist Talk: Lee Bul 20th Biennale of Sydney

March 18, 2016, 1PM
Turbine Hall, Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, Australia

News

Sydney Biennale review – contemporary art meets sci-fi in wide-reaching show The Guardian

March 18 2016

News

Sydney Biennale Announces Artist List Artforum

October 28 2015

News

Lee Bul’s Fog-Covered Installation at Palais de Tokyo ARTINFO

October 21 2015

PRESS

The Korea Herald

October 1, 2014

PRESS

The Korea Herald

September 11, 2014

PRESS

The Brooklyn Rail

July 15, 2014

PRESS

Time Out New York

June 10, 2014

PRESS

The Creator's Project

May 22, 2014

PRESS

Time Out New York

May 22, 2014

PRESS

Artinfo

May 15, 2014

PRESS

Cool Hunting

May 5, 2014

PRESS

Art in America

May 2014

PRESS

Art Review

October 2013

PRESS

Whitewall

March 20, 2013

PRESS

Artinfo

March 14, 2013

PRESS

Time Out Hong Kong

March 13, 2013

PRESS

The Wall Street Journal

March 13, 2013

News

Art Asia Pacific Where I Work: Lee Bul

March/April 2013

News

Lehmann Maupin's Inaugural Hong Kong Exhibition Features New Work by Leading Korean Artist Lee Bul 14 March - 11 May 2013

January 28 2013

PRESS

The Creator's Project

September 20, 2012

PRESS

Real Tokyo

April 5, 2012

PRESS

The Japan Times

April 5, 2012

PRESS

Art Asia Pacific

February 29, 2012

PRESS

The Korea Herald

February 5, 2012

PRESS

Artforum

January 2012

PRESS

Sculpture

April 30, 2011

PRESS

W Magazine

October 31, 2010

PRESS

Art + Auction

October 31, 2010

PRESS

Guardian

July 21, 2010

PRESS

Time Out New York

June 3, 2010

PRESS

Artnet

May 15, 2010

PRESS

The Japan Times

April 9, 2010

PRESS

The Korea Times

February 5, 2010

PRESS

Art In America

August 31, 2008

PRESS

Time Out New York

June 14, 2008

PRESS

The New Yorker

June 9, 2008

PRESS

Art + Auction

June 1, 2008

PRESS

The New York Times

May 30, 2008

The Korea Herald

February 5, 2012

After Two Decades, Artist Lee Bul Shares Her Secrets
By Hwang You-mee

TOKYO - A woman in her 20s who is not afraid - or dares - to wear a monstrous costume to perform in the middle of a jam-packed crossroad is sure to become famous. Or, better yet, infamous.

Lee Bul, one of Korea’s most internationally recognized artists, is back in Tokyo after two decades. But this time, not to shock the spectators on the streets with her performance but to share her agony and her secrets in a large-scale exhibition at Mori Art Museum.

As the title “Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs to You Only” subtly suggests, the show reflects how, after spending 20 years struggling to express the anxiety, frustration, anger and disquiet about the unknown or the unreachable, Lee has come to terms with them, or herself - to a certain degree.

“It is a line from a letter my lover sent me several years ago,” said the artist at a press conference Friday. “It was a very challenging time for me as I was feeling overwhelmed, as if I were way in over my head with my works.”

But it reminded Lee that even though she might be disappointed with her life, she also had someone she could share it with, who understood her.

The audacious performer might have let go of her giddiness, as she has taken off the ugly, soft “sculptures.” But they are not forgotten. Rather, they have taken on lives of their own as the bizarre sculptures recreated afterward. Hanging ominously from the high ceilings of the museum, they welcome the visitors into Lee’s retrospective.

The artworks symbolize “her attempts to give shape to the unknown, the intangible things such as ideals, beauty, immortality or uncertainty about the future. Hope, desire, feelings and emotions that cannot be expressed,” explained Kataoka Mami, chief curator of the museum. “They show how Lee focuses on things that don’t have forms,” she added.

The exhibition goes on to present how the artist has labored with the ideas and emotions: first expressing them mainly with performances using her own body, and then with sculptures and installations ? or something similar to those in a traditional sense ? using bodily motifs.

The “Cyborg” and “Anagram” series are certainly more aesthetically pleasing but Lee being Lee, there are limbs missing or connected randomly to the torso, all of which are headless. These twisted representations of the pursuit of the ideal body evolve into a more grand scale, as her vision moves on to architectural or urban planning models.

Born in 1964 to leftist parents who were banished from society over guilt by association, Lee vented and visualized her frustration and yearnings with references to utopian thought of the 20th century, the modern and contemporary history of Korea lying beneath.

But as the last and the latest artwork indicates, “she is once again confronting her own body, her perception, and her personal emotions,” said the chief curator.

The new work, “The Secret Sharer,” dominates a spacious room that boasts a sweeping view of this sprawling city. At first it is hard to tell what this huge, shimmering object is. Take several steps closer and then you can make out, albeit barely, that it resembles a dog. Spewing.

The dog, an homage to her pet of 17 years, pours out the time, the memories the artist shared with him in the form of acrylic, plastic, glass and beads, all gleaming with the light onto the floor.

“When asked to hold this mid-career retrospective, I was very scared. I didn’t know what to make of it. But I thought maybe, like this dog, if I vomited everything and shared it with everyone, or communicated with someone on a personal level, that might be something,” said Lee of the piece created for this show.

“It will not be an answer, or even an alternative to what I have been working on. But I can say that talking to someone about how we are still trying, even when we are not getting any closer to the ideals, the utopia, that is what my life is for,” she added.

The exhibition “Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs to You Only” runs through May 27. For more information, visit www.mori.art.museum.