Featuring a new, site-specific installation, this is the first major exhibition in London of Lee Bul’s work – and includes pieces from throughout the artist’s lauded career.
Internationally acclaimed South Korean artist Lee Bul (born 1964) came into prominence in the 1980s due to a series of performances featuring exaggerated, sensual and grotesque wearable sculptures, which prompted discussion about the role of women in Korean society. Consistently political, her artistic output has continued to grapple with issues of gender, technology, class and race; notions of the body are central to her work, with corrupted beauty a key theme.
Emerging as an artist at a time when South Korea was transitioning from military dictatorship to democracy, Bul has used her practice to reflect on idealised utopias – and their inevitable failure.
Part of the Hayward Gallery’s 50th anniversary celebrations, this is the first major exhibition in London of Bul’s internationally acclaimed work. Spanning three decades, the show focuses particularly on the body’s relation to architectural space: a new, site-specific commission partially engulfs the exterior of the gallery, which has recently undergone extensive refurbishment, including the restoration of its 66 glass pyramid rooflights.
Alongside recent pieces by the artist, such as immersive environments created to disrupt visitors’ sense of space, is a section dedicated to Bul’s studio work – featuring drawings that give crucial insight into the varied strands of her practice.