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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

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

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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

Artnet


Lee Bul at Lehmann Maupin
Eisabeth Kley

The celebrated South Korean artist Lee Bul first became known in the late 1980s for bizarre costumed performances on the streets of Seoul. Dressed in a bodysuit made with fabric, foam rubber and sponge and covered with bulbous protrusions painted red, pink and white, she transformed herself into a soft-sculpture octopus with a human face and hands. In 1997, she created an installation at the Museum of Modern Art that consisted of rows of plastic bags filled with dead fish ornamented with hand-sewn glitter -- a mordant and smelly comment on decorative decomposition that had to be removed after two days.

Lee represented South Korea in the 1999 Venice Biennale, and had solo exhibitions at the New Museum in 2002 and Deitch Projects in 2004 among others around the globe. In the '90s she produced white silicone sculptures of fragmented female cyborg warriors that refer to Japanese comic book super-heroines, manufactured bodies and prosthetic limbs; her elaborate monster sculptures prefigured the tentacled ghouls guarding Davy Jones' Locker in Pirates of the Caribbean.

The futuristic karaoke pods Lee showed at the New Museum turned group amusement into a solitary pursuit and transferred the responsibility to perform from artist to audience. They also marked a shift in her concerns, from bodily transformations of single female beings to architecture -- which is, in a way, just a larger form of human protective covering that is communally worn. Her work became more delicate, featuring hundreds of crystal particles threaded on thin wire armatures. In 2007, Lee created On Every New Shadow, a stunning environment for Paris's Foundation Cartier that included a silver scaffold tower, a mirrored floor reflecting an enormous hanging sculpture, and a pool of ammonia and India ink.

More glittering architectural hybrids of chandeliers and monsters can be found in Lee's latest New York exhibition, at Lehmann Maupin Gallery on Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side, Apr. 21-June 19, 2010. The exhibition opens with two deceptively droopy objects hanging from the entryway ceiling like carcasses in a slaughterhouse, bringing sadomasochistic harnesses to mind. The white one is made from polyurethane covered with gauze and paint and looks like a giant convoluted jock strap. The other is hard and studded with tiny squares of mirror, resembling an ominously sparkling disassembled disco ball.

Seven more sculptures are suspended from the main gallery ceiling and two others hang on the wall. Fabricated with metal rods, plywood, fabric stiffened with paint, portions of metal screens and black laminate, these pristine and dangerous objects resemble models of exploded buildings cleaned up and transformed into weapons. They draw the viewer in with their reflective shiny surfaces, but their sharp points repel.

Smaller, more benign maquettes made of polyurethane and acrylic paint can be found in the upstairs gallery, along with a group of renderings of prospective sculptures in white and grey, floating against black backgrounds like vessels in outer space. There's also Study for the Infinite Starburst of Your Cold Dark Eyes (2009), a drawing of a dissolving female figure in india ink, marker, pencil and acrylic paint. And Sternbau No. 28 (2010), a curvier sparkling metal sculpture shaped rather like a head, hangs from the ceiling of the balcony overlooking the main gallery. In addition to metal and mirrors, it's studded with oval and round crystals.

If they were enlarged, Lee's bristling, suspended structures might resemble shiny versions of the forest shacks and shelters built by the Canadian outsider architect Richard Greaves; or the booby-trapped mansion constructed between 1884 and 1922 by Sarah Winchester, the gun magnate's widow (as she tried to stave off death). Self-representation as disguise and body armor is extended to models of uninhabitable fantasy dwellings. Impressive as they are, these works are really chamber sculptures that hint at what Lee will do next. Prices range from $10,000 to $100,000.

ELISABETH KLEY is a New York artist and writer.