10 September – 9 November 2014
Free to all
The Korean artist's first solo show in the UK, including her drawings, sculptural pieces, installations and a new commission made for Ikon.
Born in 1964 in South Korea, Lee Bul initially studied sculpture at Hongik University, but gradually expanded her practice to include performative elements.
Lee began by performing on the street, wearing full-body soft sculptures that challenged idealised notions of human appearance. In the 1990s, she produced a series of female Cyborg sculptures which considered similar issues. With disproportionately small waists yet pert breasts and buttocks, they works were reminiscent of surgically altered bodies, yet also classical nude sculptures.
In her recent work, Bul explores the utopian architectural schemes of the early 20th century, which she contrasts with the architecture she experienced living under military dictatorship in Korea. One such piece is Mon grand récit which incorporates mountainous topography reminiscent of skyscrapers with a transmission tower broadcasting the message 'weep into stones / fables like snow / our few evil days'.
The exhibition features a new commission, made possible through the Art Fund International scheme in collaboration with Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and New Art Gallery Walsall. After Bruno Taut (Devotion to Drift) is a tribute to the architect of the same name - a great influence on Lee Bul's works.
The suspended sculpture, dripping with crystalline shapes and glass beads, addresses the exponential growth and unsustainability of the modern world. Contrary to Taut’s early 20th century optimism, Lee sees the failings of his architectural vision.