March 28, 2013

Lee Bul, Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong, Inaugural Exhibition

Lee BulLehmann Maupin Inaugural Hong Kong Exhibition
Through May 11, 2013

Lehmann Maupin inaugurated this month (14 March) its first international exhibition space in the historic Pedder Building in Hong Kong with a solo presentation of new work by korean artist LEE BUL, on view through 11 May 2013. The gallery has represented Lee Bul since 2007, and in that time, she has been the subject of two solo exhibitions at Lehmann Maupin, New York. The inaugural exhibition at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong marks the first solo presentation of Lee Bul’s work in China.  

Considered the leading Korean artist of her generation, LEE BUL has achieved international recognition for her formally inventive, intellectually provocative oeuvre. Characterized by an unwavering defiance of boundaries, Lee Bul’s work demonstrates a commitment to exploring a variety of challenging media while experimenting with form. Her work is influenced by and references utopian thought found in literature, art and architecture, which are formally applied in sculptural works that refer to society’s pursuit of perfection in all forms of life; physically and as a society. Her work is evident of her vast knowledge and interest in tackling themes relating to human nature while remaining inventive, analytical, and producing thoughtful and masterfully constructed works.

For the inaugural show, Lee Bul has envisioned a dynamic installation that continues her exploration of ideas about utopia and the human condition; one that works in harmony with the gallery’s original architectural character, which was left intact during the renovation process. The exhibition features new sculptures intricately crafted by hand from polyurethane. Resembling small, imaginary landscapes or futuristic ruins, the surface of these sculptures are deliberately finished with patterns of brushstrokes evoking a poetic, painterly feel. This quality is echoed in the selection of the artist’s drawings that are on view alongside the sculptures. Drawing has long been an integral and vital part of Lee Bul’s practice, an outlet for experimentation in ideas and forms that may eventually take shape as finished sculptural works. 

Of her creative process, Lee Bul has remarked, “I start to sketch or just write about my ideas and put them up all over my wall in my studio, and everyday I watch this grow into a map of ideas until one day I think, ‘Maybe I can make this more concrete and specific.’” Rounding out the exhibition, there are three sculptures from one of the artist’s existing bodies of work that also engage with metaphysical and poetic concepts of architectural environments.

One of the exhibition’s special features is a limited-edition artist book titled Mon Grand Récit: Not Every Fallen Leaf, featuring a suite of drawings produced as visual research for a series of works presented by the Cartier Foundation in 2008. The drawings are accompanied by poetic, epigrammatic texts authored by the American art critic, Barry Schwabsky. Of the 1,001 signed and numbered copies, 1 to 240 are “Art Editions” presented in solander cases, hand painted by the artist. Each “Art Edition” is a unique part of larger sequential groups that when combined together form a larger painting. The special “Art Editions” was launched at Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong on opening day.

LEE BUL (b. 1964) grew up in Seoul, Korea, and received a BFA in sculpture from Hongik University, Seoul, in 1987. Her work has been exhibited extensively on an international level with solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997); Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (1999); Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia (2001); MAC, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille, France (2002); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2002); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2002); Japan Foundation, Tokyo (2003); Power Plant, Toronto (2003); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2004); Domus Artium, Salamanca, Spain (2007); Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2007 – 2008); and most recently, the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012); and the Artsonje Center, Seoul (1998 and 2012), among others. In March 2010, a permanent installation entitled "A Fragmentary Anatomy of Every Setting Sun" was unveiled at the Hara Museum ARC, Japan. Forthcoming solo exhibitions are scheduled at MUDAM – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg, in 2013 and at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK, in 2014. Lee Bul’s work is part of numerous public collections around the world.

407 Pedder Building, Hong Kong, China
Lehmann Maupin galleries website: