Art Sonje Center: Mire Lee
The exhibition builds up an eerie tension with a concrete wall that blocks the sight of the main installation, before you are bombarded with “Carriers” — a kinetic installation that almost looks too grotesque to be called art.
In her sculpture and installation work, Mire Lee uses machinery that operates by simple principles, along with materials that can be felt with the hands. For an artist who regards it as important to touch materials by hand as she works, machinery is a key element that contributes propulsion and repetition to the movements of the substances she touches. Her new work Carriers (2020), which is being shown for the first time in this exhibition, is a large kinetic sculpture that uses a hose pump, with a form resembling an animal’s digestive organs. The installation/sculpture work repeats movements as it sucks up, transports, and extracts viscous matter. As the substance moves through the sculpture’s structure, sounds are produced at odd moments along with the rhythm of the machinery movements.
This structure serves as a figurative expression of Mire Lee’s conceptual approach. In some tribes, shamans are said to undergo a ceremony of stripping away skin so that they can respond more keenly to small stimuli, and thereby mediate the feelings of others. In this story from the oral tradition, Lee identifies a starting point toward a subversive power. To her, sculptures serve as a centripetal point that incites an experience and contemplation everything besides oneself—like the flayed shamans, they are “carriers” keenly raising their sensory feelers. With its metonymic representation of the primal movements of various substances as they travel through the body—blood, embryos, pathogens, and nutrients—the exhibition Carriers suggests an experience of being imbued with the world within the most private and physical realm of the senses.
Cured by Hyo Gyoung Jeon (Curator, Art Sonje Center)
Organized by Art Sonje Center
Supported by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul Foundation of Arts and Culture
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