Sooyeun Lee – Seoul, Republic of Korea
I was born in Incheon, 1989, and now lives and works in Seoul, South Korea. I have received my master’s of Textiles from the Royal College of Art in 2018 and studied fibre art and philosophy at Ewha Woman’s University to 2014.
In 2018, I exhibited ‘On the Genealogy of Mortality’ at the RCA’s renowned Graduate Show in London. As a 2019 prize winner of the Travers Smith CSR Art Programme, I have exhibited my work at Travers Smith Snow Hill in London. My first solo show opened in January 2020 at Omae Gallery in Seoul. In 2020, I showed ‘But Right Now It Has Nothing To Do With Us’ at the Contextile 2020 Textile Art Biennal in Guimarães. I participated in Art Intersect Chicago last year. Works from 2020-2021 will be on display at my second solo show (1-20 March).
Lee’s artworks are inspired by her congenital body condition. ;Situs Inversus Totalis, i.e. inverted position of the internal organs. She used to destroy her sculptures in order to remind the viewers of their finiteness of nature and to insist that artworks cannot last forever, as part of the flow of time. From 2018, Lee has focused on making little objects to reduce the fear or anxiety around death and to create her own values which makes her life meaningful. Her work ‘On the Genealogy of Mortality ‘are not dolls. The feature of these characters are their insipid facial expressions, powerless legs and arms and body organs out of their operation gown-looking clothes. These indicate them to close to death even though they are inanimate beings. By visualising the deformed and reconfigured beings with internal organs, Lee intended to incorporate the ideas of ‘ephemeral lives’ and represents her persona as an existence thrown in the world, being uncanny and feeling of otherness.
The artwork explores themes of the human mortality, fear of death. By inviting the audiences to stand and observe the meditations in front of the artwork, Lee signifies her perception of art and the aesthetics of mortality. The work shows the characters have insipid facial expressions, powerless arms and legs, and body organs out of their operation gown-looking clothes. These indicate them to close to death even though they are inanimate beings. By accentuating the deformed and reconfigured beings with internal organs outside, Lee intended to incorporate the idea of ‘ephemeral lives’ and represents her persona as an existence thrown in the world, being uncanny and feeling of otherness.
Her distinguishing work seems to be an attempt to evoke our subconscious conviction of immortality. Even if she does not parade the traditional images or symbolic objects in Vanitas, it seems clear that she emphasises our ephemeral lives and manifests the path to death and practising death.
Techniques Used: Hand embroidery, hand stitch, wood painting
Materials Sourced From Nature: Silk, cotton, wood
Other Materials Used: Paint, printed fabrics
Measurements: 22" x 29" x 1.5"