Dates: 16 May – 30 Jun, 2012
Venue: Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery, No. 20, Ice House Street, Ground Floor, Central, Hong Kong
Kwai Fung proudly presents “ D I L L U S I O N ” — a solo exhibition of Korean artist LEE, Lee Nam in May 2012.
LEE, Lee Nam was born 1969 inDamyang,Jeonnam,Koreaand was graduated from the Department of Art ofChosunUniversityin 1995. He is the hottest rising star of contemporary Korean art in recent years. He is a “Creative City Consultant" of UNESCO, and his art works are applied as teaching materials in textbooks for middle school education inKorea.
His works have been widely exhibited inKoreaand abroad and are collected by important museums and institutes, including Cheong Wa Dae (President House ofKorea), National Museum of Contemporary Art ofKorea, Uli Sigg Collection of Switzerland andYaleUniversity.
By cutting-edge digital technology, he extracts classical images from Oriental and Western masterpieces, which after the process of re-construction, mergers and transformation are used to create video artworks in his very strong personal style. Under his magic hands, the image of a traditional landscape painting reappears in a monitor, where it expands into the life cycle of four seasons, and the image of Van Gogh in his famous Self-Portrait is made alive : he is smoking his pipe and, at the same time, winking at the audience.
The works of Lee, Lee Nam appropriate a large number of images from classical pictures which are so familiar to the audience as to bring them a feeling of closeness and comfort. Yet, the unthinkable manipulation and subversion of these well established symbols made by him invariably bring surprises. In a work featuring Mona Lisa, high-tech military planes are shuttling like flying insects in front of the elegant lady who is staring, with her well known mysterious gaze, at these intruders in complete puzzlement.
Under the hands of the artist, the boundaries of space and time disappear completely. Anything can be dislocated and relocated, and thus time becomes limitless and space becomes limitless. All our perceptions associated with authoritative symbols are liberalised, opening up endless alternative possibilities.
Using television monitor which is in fact part of the daily life of ordinary people as the instrument for replicating haute classics, Lee, Lee Nam breaks the class barrier between fine art and popular culture completely, to an extent surpassing what were done by any past post-modernist seniors. Furthermore, his appropriation and transformation of classical images inspire us to rethink about the concepts of “originality" and “reproduction". At an age when visual information are constantly replicated and scattered and our life is actually very much under the control of media, it is an issue truly meaningful.
In his avant-garde exploration of contemporary art concepts, his ambition is obvious. Nevertheless, the deeply rooted aesthetics and perceptions of the world inside him is still Oriental. “Landscape Using Ink Runs" starts with Chinese characters written in finest calligraphy drifting in a clear void which is reminiscent of the primeval sky. They gradually move close to and link up with each other like atoms in the process of grouping into molecules. Finally they are merged together to form the image of a landscape of Sesshu Toyo (the most prominent Japanese master in ink painting in the 15th century). At the same time, on the right top corner of the screen, there appears also a poem written by Jang Seung-eop (1843-1897), a distinguished Korean painter. The motion picture then shows a life journey shared universally: first comes spring fog, then summer rain, followed by autumn breeze and, lastly, snowflakes. When the cycle is done, the image disintegrates back into the same Chinese characters shown at the very beginning of the video. They diffuse in all directions going beyond the frame of the screen and thus disappear, ash to ash, dust to dust.
This exhibition will show 18 pieces of the latest representative works of LEE, Lee Nam.