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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

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Artist Bio

Lee Bul

PRESS

Financial Times

January 11, 2017

News

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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Time Out New York

June 10, 2014

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The Creator's Project

May 22, 2014

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Time Out New York

May 22, 2014

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Artinfo

May 15, 2014

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Cool Hunting

May 5, 2014

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Art in America

May 2014

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Art Review

October 2013

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Whitewall

March 20, 2013

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Artinfo

March 14, 2013

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Time Out Hong Kong

March 13, 2013

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The Wall Street Journal

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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The Korea Herald

February 5, 2012

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Artforum

January 2012

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Sculpture

April 30, 2011

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W Magazine

October 31, 2010

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Art + Auction

October 31, 2010

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Guardian

July 21, 2010

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Time Out New York

June 3, 2010

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Artnet

May 15, 2010

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The Japan Times

April 9, 2010

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The Korea Times

February 5, 2010

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Art In America

August 31, 2008

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Time Out New York

June 14, 2008

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The New Yorker

June 9, 2008

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Art + Auction

June 1, 2008

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The New York Times

May 30, 2008

The Brooklyn Rail

July 15, 2014

Lee Bul
By: Jonathan Goodman


Lee Bul presented a striking body of work for her recent show, which included an installation, several individual sculptures, and India ink and acrylic paintings. All the works in this compelling exhibition address visionary attitudes toward form, inspired in one case by the German architect and urban planner, Bruno Taut (1880 – 1938), whose idealized drawings influenced Weimar buildings. Lee, a presence in the art world—one of her earliest solo shows was at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1997—has since been at pains to expand the language of contemporary sculpture especially. Her “Cyborgs” series (1997 – 2011) investigated the positive and negative aspects of a futurism that South Korea seems more than willing to embrace, although, at the same time, the white pieces, which look like mechanized body parts, were always partially deformed. Such maneuvers implicitly recognize iconic works such as the Venus de Milo, a path Lee has always sought, that notes historical art as well as a formal means towards contemporaneity.


In her latest show at Lehmann Maupin’s Lower East Side gallery, Lee demonstrates her continuing vision of an art whose origins may be traced to past realities. “Via Negativa” (2012), by far her most ambitious work, took up a good part of the first-floor gallery. Viewers were asked to take off their shoes and walk across a mirrored floor leading to the structure, a maze of narrow corridors made disorienting by the presence of additional mirrors that blocked their path as they found their way into an inner sanctum. There, Lee’s audience came upon a place of dizzying complexity, much like Yayoi Kusama’s famous mirrored room. In the inner space, countless rows of reflected LED lights created a destabilizing visual environment. The title of the work is actually a theological term, which asserts that God is beyond our knowledge and can only be approached by what He is not. Much of Lee’s sculptural work confronts physical and intellectual boundaries only to move beyond them, and here, in the small discomforts of the narrow passageway leading to infinity mirrors, one senses her ongoing search for a physical language that would do justice to the absolute.


Interestingly, Lee is not a constructor of sharply geometric pieces. Instead, she often relies on organic forms, which tie her imagination more closely to the human body, as well as outline a vision close to nature. “Of Roses” (2014), created by hand-scoring PVC foam board and decorated with acrylic paint and fabric, is the first piece visitors encounter upon entering the gallery. It forms a striking spiral, hung from above, that outlines what can easily be imagined as the edges of roses, with their inner petals cut away to reveal the borders of the flower. Lee champions these forms, surprisingly, without sentimentality. “Monster Black” (1998 – 2011), the other sculpture at the gallery entrance, was remade in 2011 after its earlier construction. Here one finds a riot of root-like appendages, embellished with dried flowers, glass beads, and crystal. Again, it is hard not to see Kusama’s influence, whose phallic precedents provide a history Lee is able to rely on. At least for this writer, however, Lee is the more inventive artist; she searches for a visual truth based in nature, whereas Kusama’s art seems overly obsessive in a way that psychologically constrains.


Hanging from the ceiling, and similar to “Of Roses” is the piece Lee made taking inspiration from the German artist, Bruno Taut: “Untitled”(2014). Consisting of crystal, glass, acrylic beads, mirrors, stainless steel, aluminum, black nickel rods, steel and bronze chains, stainless steel and aluminum armature, this piece hovers in the air, expressing a glittering intricacy that owes its gestalt to Taut’s drawings. It is one of the best pieces in the show—a futurist shape based on imagery imagined more than two generations ago by a Bauhaus artist. Airy and highly structural, the work is suspended from above, high enough that the best viewing opportunity is the narrow, second-story balcony facing the large lower room. The sculpture’s specificity stems from its direct regard of a particular esthetic—in this case the mystic views of Taut in his book Alpine Architecture—and provides an excellent example of a vision directed beyond the present that is rooted in the past. Here, as elsewhere, Lee freely appropriates but never merely copies, building a corpus of work that is imaginative, historically aware, and prophetic about the way we make and process art.