540 West 26th Street, Chelsea
Through June 14
The work of Lee Bul, one of
South Korea's most prominent
contemporary artists, has
evolved from statement-making
installations involving cyborgs,
rotting fish and karaoke to retrofuturistic
abstract sculptures: In
this show, her first with the gallery,
Ms. Lee unites disparate visions
of modernity: utopian and
dystopian, masculine and feminine.
In the first gallery, Ms. Lee has
constructed sculptures of mechanical-
looking pieces of steel in
shallow, mirrored boxes. From
certain angles, LED lights and
two-way mirrors create the illusion
of infinite space. These devices
work well in a gridded floor
sculpture, but several vertical
variations lack mystique.
In a second gallery a hanging
sculpture, "Untitled (After Bruno
Taut series)" (2008), is paired
wjth a black, cavelike structure,
"Bunker - M. Bakhtin" (2007).
(Their titles pay homage to the
Russian philosopl)er Mikhail
Bakhtin and the Weimar-era architect
Bruno Taut.) Within the
interior of "Bunker" is a pair of
headphones, which emit a loud,
screeching noise. The other
sculpture, a glittering mass of
crystals and chains on a wire armature,
is as enticing as "Bunker"
In an earlier body of work,
"Live Forever," Ms. Lee ensconced
viewers in individual karaoke
pods. Here, she has created
a sculptural environment that is
just as visionary, but less hostile.
to social interaction.