For nearly 20 years the Korean artist Lee Bul has explored the idea of utopia through her art.

Her cyborg sculptures of the late 1990s took advancements in prosthetics and plastic surgery to their logical conclusion by sculpting idealised robot women, figures that were both perfect and inhuman. Following the thin line between utopia and dystopia led Bul to her next project: a series of works inspired by the visionary architects of the early 20th century, individuals such as Vladimir Tatlin and Bruno Taut. Taut was a German architect and urban planner who rose to prominence during the Weimar period. While many of his designs came to fruition – notably his prismatic dome for the 1914 Cologne Werkbund exhibition – today he is best remembered for his theoretical works, including his Utopian project ‘Alpine Architecture’ (1917), an unrealised plan for a city in the Alps. Bul draws on Taut’s mountainous forms and prolific use of glass for her suspended sculptures, creating delicate towering structures that rise from a floating island of looping beads, wires and crystals. Part chandelier, part utopian model, After Bruno Taut is at once organic and lifeless, magnificent and cold. Bul featured prominently in the Hayward Gallery’s 2010 exhibition ‘New Décor’, but there are few examples of her work in British collections. After Bruno Taut was commissioned through Art Fund International for the West Midlands Consortium, whose collection is jointly owned by the New Art Gallery Walsall and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Provenance

The artist.


Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

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