Lee Bul

Lee Bul is a Korean born sculptor and installation artist and she is currently exhibiting at the Vancouver Art Gallery. As I strolled through the hall with her exhibits I was intrigued by the sketches of cyborgs that covered the one wall of the hall, only to come across the actual sculptures of the cyborgs (second image in the link) in another room, all very individual and each with his own character. She had so many installations that it is impossible to mention them all, most of them abstract in form.

A large portion of Lee’s installation pieces are placed on a mirrored floor. I noticed that viewers were hesitant to walk on the floor, thinking that it was part of the exhibits, but after seeing a few viewers venturing out over the mirrored floor they soon followed. The floor itself creates a rather surreal sense in itself. It’s as if one is walking in space. Now imagine placing a huge maze on top of this floor. The maze is constructed from what looks like Japanese screens from the outside. Aged paper with poetry adorns the paper screens. In places the screens reach almost to the floor, in others they are slightly higher. The maze is very angular, almost having triangular “curves”. From the exterior though one is not really aware of the triangularity. It is only when one steps inside the maze that this is discovered. The interior walls of the maze are all mirrored, again with triangular tiles. Stepping inside this maze is totally surreal. One loses all sense of perspective and one almost gets the sense of anti-gravity. The mirrors block all sense of direction and the dead-ends in the maze can only be felt and not seen. After a while I felt rather claustrophobic and just wanted to get out and was quite relieved when I eventually found the exit. What a brilliant piece of artwork! Seemingly fragile from the outside, delicate and yet totally deceptive on the inside.

Lee Bul’s works are large and by the sheer size imply a sense of masculinity, but I find that all have a touch of femininity to them, be it the geometric designs of the large sculpture resembling jewelry patterns, or the delicate filigree work of her hanging installations.

Reference List

Bul, Lee (2014) Via Negativa II (polycarbonate sheet, aluminum frame, acrylic and polycarbonate mirrors, steel, stainless-steel, mirror, two-way mirror, LED lighting, silkscreen ink) [online]. Lehmann Maupin. Available from http://www.lehmannmaupin.com/artists/lee-bul [Accessed 11 November, 2015]

http://artasiapacific.com/Magazine/WebExclusives/LeeBul [Accessed 16 November, 2015]

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