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

Leading Korean contemporary artist Lee Bul has just unveiled a dramatic intervention on the building of the Palais de Tokyo to coincide with this year’s FIAC art fair in Paris.

Entitled “Aubade III,” the installation is presented as part of France-Korea year in collaboration with the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul, where it was first exhibited from September 2014 to March 2015. Painstakingly crafted out of aluminum, metallized film, polycarbonate, and LEDs, Aubade III has a jagged, bristling appearance that evokes a nostalgia for the geometric precision of early 20th century modernist architecture, as well as the dashed utopian promises that it embodied. A fog machine releases a miasmic cloud that engulfs the artwork every hour, adding a sinister dimension to the piece.

Curator Khairuddin Hori notes that Lee’s work has always provoked audiences into pondering larger questions surrounding the grand narratives of modernity and progress in contemporary society. “Lee Bul is an artist who is very precise in her thinking and art-making such that every single artwork she presents becomes a cause for deep introspection.”

Some of Lee’s recent milestones include being granted the prestigious Noon Award for established artist at the Gwangju Biennale in 2014, and a major retrospective “From Me, Belongs to You Only” at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo in 2012. While her early career focused on performative pieces that highlighted issues of gender and beauty, she has won the most acclaim for the fierce, hard-edged beauty of her large-scale installations made using industrial and synthetic materials that conjure up the specter of failed modernity.

“My general approach in art-making is to convey questions through sensorial mechanisms,” says Lee. “In turn, the audience starts to ask the same questions while experiencing my work.”

Lee Bul’s “Aubade III” runs at Palais de Tokyo through January 10, 2016.