Lee Bul(1964- )
Lee’s Cyborg series begins with the familiar image of cyborgs commonly found in anime and movies. However, instead of having intact bodies, her cyborgs take on abnormal forms with missing body parts or amputated limbs. The silicone used in her early cyborgs—a material often used as a prosthesis in plastic surgery—alludes to women’s desires for the idealized body or the male gaze upon it. By employing a material that can substitute for the human body, Lee provokes discussions on topics such as the body as an organism and the body without organs. These cyborgs, suspended in mid-air with missing heads and limbs, question our myth of technological perfection, which we often believe will augment the human body and open new hopes for humanity. Meanwhile, her cyborgs adopt the archetypal female images often found in Western art history, such as Venus and Olympia. By superimposing these trans-temporal, iconographic images of women on her cyborgs, Lee challenges our understanding of who has held the power to dominate and use technology, and what kind of images, products, and ideologies have been produced as a result. At the core of Lee’s work, including the Cyborg series, lies a profound exploration of femininity through her unique discourse on the body and her methodology of intricate handicraft. Her works maintain a close connection to her earliest endeavors, challenging the paternalistic social hierarchy that underlies art, culture, and technology, and provoking a subversion of this structure. Lee Bul introduced Majestic Splendor in ‘Ssack’ (May 19-August 20, 1995), an exhibition held at the former location of Art Sonje Center prior to its opening. She also presented the Cyborg series in her solo exhibition Lee Bul (October 16-November 15, 1998), which was later displayed in Connect 1: Still Acts (August 25-November 20, 2016).
Lee Bul(1964- )
Lee Bul is a renowned artist whose installations, sculptures, and performances challenge physical limitations and cultural stereotypes, creating a ‘different voice’ in a patriarchal society. Her works defy the physical limitations and cultural stereotypes imposed on Asian women through performative acts such as walking on the streets wearing an exaggerated tentacle-like costume or creating a series of cyborgs dreaming of a new body. In 1997, Lee gained international recognition for her pivotal work Majestic Splendor, presented at the Museum of Modern Art(MoMA) in New York. The installation featured 98 raw fish, decorated with beads and spangles, and individually sealed in transparent plastic bags. Over time, the fish decomposed, releasing a powerful odor that transformed the museum’s authoritative space. A deliberate and thought-provoking aspect of the work, it symbolized themes of mortality, decay, and destruction, while also reflecting on the status of women in society. Since then, Lee has continued to explore different utopias envisioned by humanity in her work. Drawing from her reflection on the individual, society, history, and modernity.