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HAPPENINGText: Meiko Maruyama

The first large-scale solo exhibition of Asia’s leading female artist.

“Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs To You”, Mori Art Museum, 2012. Photo: Osamu Watanabe

Korean artist, Lee Bul (Born 1964) exhibition, “Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs To You” was held at Mori Art Museum from February 4th to May 27th. Greeting the visitors with a large piece, the exhibition was indeed quite exquisite and beautiful. As a woman artist, Lee Bul has exhibited her works from 1990 up until her recent work, “The Secret Sharer”. Reflecting this to her exhibition, the title, “From Me, Belongs to You” exhibition is distinguished in 4 different themes: “Ephemeral Presence”, “Beyond Human”, “Utopia and Dreamscape”, and “From Me, Belongs To You Only”. On top of that, exhibition will also showcase sketches over 150 pieces and 50 marquees.

“Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs To You”, Mori Art Museum, 2012. Photo: Osamu Watanabe

The show welcomed visitors with Lee Bul’s 12 days of performance captured into a digest format. Suspended from the ceiling is a soft sculpture [usage of fabric and such quality](Artist worn as a costume at the performance) is together displayed with the video documentation. Imitating the Japanese ‘Yokai’-like shape, the color is by a glance, odd. It looks as if the Artists are wearing these constumes around town, and it’s endearing. Next up is the “Live Forever” piece’s displayed as digestive images from the showcase held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In this piece, the fish is decorated in beads and safety pins, and as the time passes, the piece gradually ages.

“Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs To You”, Mori Art Museum, 2012. Photo: Osamu Watanabe

Exhibition molds idealism, beauty and fragility by using beads as a material into a human-like sculpture. Seeing that it is made from beads and threads, this piece is fragile and something personal. Also, Lee in the show displays a spaceship-like machine that is for a one man to ride, a karaoke machine.

“Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs To You”, Mori Art Museum, 2012. Photo: Osamu Watanabe

Further, Lee Bul has through sculpture and architectural shape a cyborg or seeked to form a utopia as an idea. Here the third theme touches on “Utopia and Dreamscape”, where visitors are able to enter a room a floor made of mirror. The room gives a cool atmospheric feeling that the mechanical shapes and architectural inspired pieces emphasizes this atmosphere even more. Lee also reflects about politics and dispute between South Korea and North Korea’s borderline through thinking what Utopia and Dreamscape is.

After Bruno Taut (Beware the sweetness of things), Lee Bul, 2007 Installation view. Crystal, glass and acrylic beads on stainless steel armature, aluminum and copper mesh, PVC, steel and aluminum chains, 258 x 200 x 250 cm. Paris Collection: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg and Paris. Photo: Osamu Watanabe. Courtesy of Mori Art Museum

Lastly, Lee Bul displays her latest works done in 2012 to the visitors- “Sharing the Secret”, in which is a large sculpture of her dog throwing up. However, to make this piece more relatable to the recent works she has done, the materials used to create the vomiting scene is things such as, beads, acrylic mirror and plastics. Her subjectivity being about her own dog, the works she is creating has gone back and shifted from pointing out utopia, politics, cyborg to themes that is something more personal to her. The overall art pieces are made from beads that is shiny that draws visitor’s attention. Artist’s originality and uniqueness can be felt through these beautifully rendered pieces done by Lee Bul. We can sure hope for more in the future.

Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs To You
Date: 4th February – 27th May, 2012
Place: Mori Art Museum
Address: 53F Ropponngi Hills Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Organizer: Mori Art Museum

Text: Meiko Maruyama
Translation: Frances Jyo
Photos: Osamu Watanabe, Courtesy of Mori Art Museum

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