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

July 26 – September 13, 2015

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Gwangju Biennale

September 5 – November 9, 2014

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Artist Bio

Lee Bul

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Financial Times

January 11, 2017

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Video: Lee Bul’s Monumental Sydney Biennale Dreamscape Artinfo

April 14 2016

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

March 24 2016

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Artist Talk: Lee Bul 20th Biennale of Sydney

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

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

March 18 2016

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Sydney Biennale Announces Artist List Artforum

October 28 2015

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

October 21 2015

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The Korea Herald

October 1, 2014

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The Korea Herald

September 11, 2014

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The Brooklyn Rail

July 15, 2014

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June 10, 2014

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The Creator's Project

May 22, 2014

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May 22, 2014

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May 15, 2014

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May 5, 2014

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May 2014

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October 2013

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Whitewall

March 20, 2013

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March 14, 2013

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Time Out Hong Kong

March 13, 2013

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March 13, 2013

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Art Asia Pacific Where I Work: Lee Bul

March/April 2013

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

January 28 2013

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The Creator's Project

September 20, 2012

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Real Tokyo

April 5, 2012

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The Japan Times

April 5, 2012

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Art Asia Pacific

February 29, 2012

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February 5, 2012

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Artforum

January 2012

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Sculpture

April 30, 2011

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October 31, 2010

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Art + Auction

October 31, 2010

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July 21, 2010

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June 3, 2010

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May 15, 2010

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April 9, 2010

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February 5, 2010

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August 31, 2008

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June 14, 2008

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June 9, 2008

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Art + Auction

June 1, 2008

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May 30, 2008

The Creator's Project

May 22, 2014

 

 

 

Lee Bul's Labyrinth of Infinity Mirrors: Via Negativa II
By Emerson Rosenthal


French philosopher Jacques Lacan once posited the idea that a paramount phase in human development involves the constant confrontation between the self and one's own reflection. Known simply as the mirror stage, the symbolic experience finds its rooted in the creation of the self and in the formation of the ego; in the mirror, we are at once divided into self-conscious creatures, autonomous beings, and passive observers.

It is in this dialectic that Lee Bul finds the inspiration behind her newest exhibition, Via Negativa II. For nearly three decades, the Yongju, South Korea-born contemporary artist has dazzled the world with her singularly technical, mechanistic sculptures—uncannily textured combinations of materials that reveal an inner world every bit as nuanced as the world in which her works debut. Since 1999, when Bul represented South Korea in the Venice Biennale, she's been a market-driving force in the elevation of Asian contemporary art to critical acclaim.


For Via Negativa II, Bul crafted an elaborate, immersive amalgamation of mirrors and metals at Lehmann Maupin which forces the viewer into direct conflict with her or his own perspectives, and echoes both the promises and fallibilities of technology. Perfect and imperfect, at once whole and fragmented, Bul hijacks the zeitgeist to create a sculptural commentary on technologies that are at once as objective as they are subjectively experienced.


Bul told us about some of the big-picture concepts that inspire her as an artist: "Our plans about utopia are undoubtedly going to fail. But as human beings, just because it's destined to fail doesn't mean we should stop dreaming about it. We need to keep trying, don't we?"


Via Negativa II is the perfect example of Bul's intrepid artistry. As simple as it is visually complex, her artwork forces the viewer into direct confrontation with perspective itself. In our interview, Bul explained, "Via Negativa’s basic form is a labyrinth. It’s in the form of very simple maze. It’s not that it has multiple exits, or is without the doors to exit, but by simply following the path, eventually you will find a way out of it. The only thing is that I built the walls with mirrors. When the viewer actually goes in there, although it has a very simple path, all the reflections, mirrored images create endless fictional paths. Within it, the viewer sees himself in parts and continuously experiences the fragments of his own self."


Part of the structure's facade is adorned with disordered pages from a text that speaks to Bul's ideas on the formations of self-consciousness. "My intention is not to have people read the words," Bul tells us, "but when we manage to read it partially, even with difficulty, some of the words would pop out. Then, the viewer can catch a glimpse of something like a reference to the origin of consciousness.


"Ah, Julian Jaynes," she sighs, recalling a particular source of inspiration. "Originally, humans thought that self-consciousness was either their own thought, or the voice of God. As people’s lives began to get more complicated, the two territories have become connected and, while going back and forth between the two self-consciousnesses, we look and review [the ways in which] our selves come about."


The show at Lehmann Maupin also incorporates six other sculptures by the artist. Explains Bul, "The works I show this time could be categorized into a few kinds. Probably the biggest subject of it could be self-consciousness. [The subject is] all about the questions about such issues. Different works are put together so that they can be approached through completely different mediums, and different experiential methods. Since the techniques and things seem too far different at a glance, one can question about how they are related. Naturally, through their own questions, I think the viewer can have a chance to think about or experience the certain ideas that penetrate this entire structure."


Bul punctuated that thought with the note that she believes it's more important to give the viewer the chance to experience their own interpretations and experiences away from her own intentions. "I sometimes have these thoughts nowadays that what we think or believe is ourselves, is actually a reflection of ourselves that we accept without hesitation. I wonder how we saw ourselves before we had mirrors in front of us."