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.
About the Artist
Mire Lee (b. 1988) pursues an artistic process based on substances the act of “making.” With a primary interest is in the material properties and movement of three-dimensional media, she explores affect and energy—including desire, sentimentality, vitality, and drive. She has taken part in various exhibitions, including the solo exhibition War Isn’t Won by Soldiers It’s Won by Sentiment (Insa Art Space) and the group exhibitions Moving / Image (Arko Art Center), 2016 Media City Seoul, NERIRI KIRURU HARARA (Seoul Museum of Art), 15th Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale, Where Water Comes Together with Other Water, etc.
Curated 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 for Arts and Culture