Seung Ae Lee: Becoming

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515 West 23rd Street, NY 10011, New York Chelsea, USA
Open: 11am-6pm Tue-Sat


Seung Ae Lee: Becoming

New York

Seung Ae Lee: Becoming
to Sat 16 Jun 2018
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Christine Park Gallery presents a new body of works by London-based Korean artist Seung Ae Lee. In her first solo exhibition with the Gallery, Lee presents five drawing animations based on her well-known detailed pencil drawings and ten new drawing works.

Lee’s trademark drawing animations explore the relationships between the drawn line, the imaginative transformation, and the moving image. Her animations are a series of spontaneous black and white pencil drawings that repeat the process of erasing and redrawing on paper, continuously leaving traces of the previous frame. The artist repeatedly sketches and erases the drawing, then converts the process of the transformation into moving image. Developed through autonomous ideas and movements, these drawings often depict detached parts of the body, natural organisms, and nostalgic items. A 10 minute animation requires approximately 2000 pencil drawings. The created images show a constant apparition and disapparition of botanic, animalistic, anatomic and traditional motifs. Each stage transforms into the next, with the new movement (or drawing) inspired by the previous stage. The transformation represents the energy that is constantly “becoming” something else at every moment. The sound effects of the traditional Korean percussion instrument complement the visual imagery, and the drawings visually respond to the sounds.

On the occasion of Lee’s first solo show with the Gallery, the exhibition features the full series of her drawing animations alongside with new drawings. The animations show the transformation of curious objects in harmony with mythical sound effects and the drawings depict traces of transformation and its result, which hints at the artist’s physical engagement and the materiality of the pencil, the eraser, and the paper. In addition, each drawing animation will be presented with its ‘Master Drawing’, that shows the artist’s repetitive movements of drawing on paper. The viewers are therefore invited to discover the full trajectory of the artist.

Becoming (2017) represents moments of metamorphosis, where there is a continuous flux between different states, eventually transforming the familiar object into an alien form. Contrasting subject matters, including the body, animals, plants, insects, and percussion, transfuse with each other to constantly generate new images. The inappropriate and the unacceptable ideas that are presented to the viewer will challenge their perceptions and understanding of the world.

Based on Lee’s belief that the internal world has a greater energy than the external world, A Cabinet (2017) shows a Korean traditional cabinet repeatedly opening and closing, transmitting the energy from its interior to the viewer. A Lamp (2017)’s drawn image is not fixed to a particular form and does not exist indefinitely in a space. The image exists only in relation to the mind of the viewer. Upon encountering the image, there is an unconscious and automatic process of thinking that prescribes the image into a particular form within the mind. Influenced by the natural environment, A Frog (2016) represents the strong energy of a being that is generated through the constant efforts to transform itself into a different substance, form, and identity. On the other hand, sets of personal memories and fairy-tale-like images are the motivating factors for A Bird (2015). The constant process of metamorphosis demonstrates an indefinite flow of thoughts and imagination. The images transform endlessly, completely eliminating former depictions.

A Cabinet is projected in the main gallery space in a completely dark room in order to create a curious and mythical ambiance to the space. On its facing wall, A Lamp is projected on the inner corner of the space, creating a ‘mise en abîme’ (room within a room).

Seung Ae Lee (b. 1979, Seoul) graduated from Sungshin Women’s University, Seoul with a BA in Painting and obtained an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London in 2016.

Lee’s sophisticated drawing animations are a series of spontaneous pencil drawings that repeat the process of erasing and redrawing on paper, continuously leaving traces of the previous stage. Each stage transforms into the next, with the new movement (or drawing) inspired by the previous stage. Developed through autonomous ideas and movements, Lee’s drawings often depict segregated parts of the body, natural organisms, and nostalgic items. The sound effects of percussions complement the visual imagery – and at the same time, the drawings also visually respond to sounds, as the percussion becomes the subject of depiction.

Lee’s work has been exhibited at various international venues, including Anima Mundi 2017 International Art Festival, Venice (2017), The Fourth Guangzhou Triennial (2012), Doosan Art Gallery, New York (2011) Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul (2009), the Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul (2009) and Coreana Museum of Art, Seoul (2009).

She is the winner of the Valerie Beston Artists’ Trust Prize 2016 (London). In 2013, she was awarded the Gucci Young Artist Grant (Seoul) and in 2009, her works were selected by the Google Cultural Institute as part of the online Google Arts & Culture . Her works are widely collected by private and public collections including Arario Collection, Christie’s and Doosan Collection to name a few.

all images © the gallery and the artist(s)

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