Alpha Contemporary is pleased to have the “Korean Contemporary Now and Next” series, introducing the current and upcoming art scenes of Korea.
“Korean Contemporary Now” introduces the contemporary Korean art scenes by Woolim Lee, who is active in both Korean and international arenas. And, Korean art scenes by emerging artists, many of those born in the 1980s, are brought to light in the “Korean Contemporary Next” show.
In our first exhibition, Woolim Lee will show how the "imagination" born from the boundary between "remembering and forgetting" plays out in their works.
Argentine novelist Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) said, “Imagination is born between memory and forgetting.” He says that our memories have numerous holes by forgetting, and in order to fill those holes, we constantly create stories and fix memories. In other words, weak memories with numerous holes do not exist the way they are, but are completed into something else with the powerful tool of human creativity.
When our real life is harsh, we can make numerous holes in the harshness of reality with the forgetting, and eventually we can create another reality by filling the holes with imagination.
Woolim Lee has constantly created new memories with his creative imagination; he has built his own unique style in the global art scenes by holding major art fairs and numerous solo exhibitions not only in Korea but also overseas such as Hong Kong, the US, Taiwan, etc.
He transforms his daily experiences into psychological one with a dreamy, fantastic atmosphere. He has depicted the boundary between reality and surreal worlds with dreamy characters and animals in actual space such as forests and stairs. This kind of depiction technique also resembles the process of both filling in the holes of forgetting and leaving some of the original memories behind, creating new memories in a subtle way that even the memory maker himself wouldn’t notice. This ambiguous boundary between realty and sur-reality attracts viewers into the world of his works.
He uses his iconic figures and objects in his works like a woman wearing a flower patterned one piece, a man looking outside of canvas with no facial expression, and animals eyeing toward another direction. Each object, however, is not categorized in a coherent context but linked to each other fictitiously. This unique setting becomes a boundary that distinguishes reality from unreality in the work, and increase their own imagination and interpretation. With this imagination, we will constantly fill the holes in our memory of reality.
Artist Talk, Woolim Lee, 7/8/2023. Conducted in Kor, Jpn and Eng.
In a Wood Oil on Canvas, 130.3×97cm, 2023
A walk, Resin, Oil on Canvas, 117×91cm, 2021
A Walk, Oil on Canvas, 91×73cm, 2023
In a wood, Oil on Canvas, 91×73cm, 2023
Summer, Oil on Canvas, 91×73cm, 2023
A scene with a rabbit, Resin, Oil on Canvas, 65×53cm, 2023
A scene with a hen, Resin, Oil on Canvas, 53×45.5cm, 2021