2021 Papier-mâché, medical plaster cloth gauze bandage, stainless steel rods & wires, aluminum rods & wires, nickel wires, springs, transparent colored PVC sheets, paper, styrofoam balls, acrylic, epoxy, thermoformed PET bottles, masking tapes 350x1231x1284cm
Tuesday-Saturday 11:00~19:00 / Closed on Sunday and Monday
DOOSAN Gallery Seoul: 15, Jongno 33-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
Curated by Jee Yong Maeng
DOOSAN Gallery presents Chemical, a solo exhibition of new works by Hyungkoo Lee from Wednesday, May 26 to Wednesday, June 30, 2021. As DOOSAN Residency New York’s first resident artist, Lee participated in DOOSAN Gallery New York’s inaugural exhibition D AiR in 2009 and held the solo exhibition Eye Trace at DOOSAN Gallery Seoul in 2010. As an prolific artist, Hyungkoo Lee’s work has shown throughout Korea and internationally over the past two decades. On the occasion of Hyungkoo Lee’s exhibition Chemical not only sheds new light on Lee’s works but also pays continuous attention to the artists who has been with DOOSAN Gallery from its inception in 2007.
Hyungkoo Lee’s long-standing focus is the human body. Lee’s engagement with the body and investigation of its senses have led him to explore with photographs, videos, performances, and, most frequently, sculptures that incorporate materials such as resin, plastic, paper-mache, bronze, and lead. In these various experimentations, he often disrupts and tweaks bodily senses, produces virtual bodies or devices (The Objectuals and the ANIMATUS series), and refers to the sensory organs of other animals to survey the possibility of escaping the senses familiar to humans and extending them to diverse media (Eye Trace and the MEASURE series). As he began delving more deeply into the senses to explore how we perceive our bodies in a space, he began producing such works as Gallus (2015), Kiamkoysek (2018), Psyche up panorama (2019), and X (2019), leading up to the large installation works X variation (2021) and Nitrodelight (2021), which are presented inside and outside of the exhibition space in Chemical. To Lee, the body is both his subject and the platform through which he understands and experiments with it.
As can be inferred by the title Chemical, Lee investigates further with a new form of landscape by integrating disparate material properties and positing the exhibition space as a laboratory. X variation, installed inside the exhibition space, functions as an extension of his subject of focus—the body (including the face, bones, muscles, and sensory organs)—and his probing attitude toward its movement, traversing the boundaries of figurative and abstract to materialize a landscape reminiscent of a microcosm. In producing this work, made of paper-mache, stainless-steel rods, medical bandages, epoxy, Styrofoam, and clear plastic bottles, Lee responded to the accidental and inevitable occurrences that arose during the process of approaching his vision of the most ideal aesthetic state. Nitrodelight, installed on the outer window space, creates an illusion that part of the exhibition space inside has been extricated. The work ultimately merges with the interior landscape as the viewers’ movement causes their view of it to enlarge and reduce, as if seen through a zoom lens.
Following the small and large pieces that Lee has planted around the exhibition space, each viewer is bound to encounter different landscapes depending on his or her course of movement. New currents of motion are ceaselessly created by the intersection of the artist’s meticulous arrangement and the movement of the viewers. While the works are fixed and still, the eyes and bodies of the viewers perpetually move from one work to another; thus, the works are collectively imprinted in each individual viewer’s perception as a unique landscape. The exhibition space, which appears to have been turned inside out, transcends the border between interior and exterior, alluding to a new formative possibility created by the near-chemical reactions triggered by the movement of the artwork and the viewers.
Hyungkoo Lee (b. 1969) received a bachelor’s degree in sculpture from Hongik University and a master’s degree in sculpture from Yale University. He has held solo exhibitions at P21 (2019, Seoul); Perigee Gallery (2015, Seoul); the Polytechnic Museum (2015, Moscow); Gallery Skape (2014, 2012, Seoul); DOOSAN Gallery (2010, Seoul); the Natural History Museum Basel (2008, Basel); Arario Gallery (2008, New York); the Korean Pavilion of the Venice Biennale (2007, Venice); Arario Gallery (2006, Cheonan); and Sungkok Art Museum (2004, Seoul) and has participated in numerous group shows including those held at the Jeonbuk Museum of Art (2020, Wanju); the Aram Nuri Arts Center (2019, Goyang); the Holden Gallery (2018, Manchester); the Donuimun Museum Village (2018, Seoul); the Buk-Seoul Museum of Art (2018, Seoul); the Daejeon Museum of Art (2018, Daejeon); the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (2017, Seoul); Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium (2016, Vestfossen); Daegu Art Museum (2015, Daegu); Choi & Lager Gallery (2015, Cologne); PLATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art (2014, Seoul); the Busan Museum of Art (2013, Busan); Pinacoteca Agnelli (2012, Turin); the Seoul Olympic Museum of Art (2012, Seoul); DOOSAN Gallery (2012, Seoul); and the University of Colorado Art Museum (2012, Colorado).