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siren eun young jung: “I believe in art that is able to visualise those erased by society”
June 18, 2024
Sojung Jun: “I find it intriguing to deal with history or time”
June 18, 2024
siren eun young jung: “I believe in art that is able to visualise those erased by society”
June 18, 2024

A selection of Korea’s most exciting contemporary artists have been selected for this year’s Korean Artists Today, a long-term project which will see a cohort of artists chosen each year for their potential to make it on the global stage. See the full list here.

The sculptor Eusung Lee is truly embedded in her home city, where she completed her art degrees and now has her studio. “Seoul’s vibrant energy and rapid pace serve as a constant source of inspiration for me,” she says. “While the city’s crazy dynamics and challenges reflect our historical context, they lead me to deeper reflections on fear, contradiction and the resistance residing in my subconscious.”

The forms of Lee’s sculptures are eclectic, from shoes and human ears to butterflies and fruit, as well as abstract shapes. She uses an array of materials including wood, clay, metal, paper, fabric, yarn, and ready-made objects. “I find inspiration in the seemingly mundane,” she says, “often collecting items during my walks or drives, and immersing myself in prolonged contemplation of their essence. In my studio practice, time is a crucial element, sometimes spanning years as I engage with acquired objects.”

Eusung Lee’s Eggshell (2023), made of aluminium tied together with copper wire

While her work often references her memories and family, Lee says she tries to refrain from giving overly personal meanings to her sculptures. “Instead, I focus on the interplay between motifs and materials, paying attention to texture and density. At the same time, I perceive a multitude of emotional and social layers inherent in symbols and shapes. For example, the sight of a dragonfly in flight evokes diverse impressions such as crosses, pelvic bones, the technological structure of helicopters, Da Vinci’s disegni [drawings], sexual scenes, delicate glass vases, and the violence of human history. Exploring these layers allows me to find complexity and the political connections that emerge during the creative process.”

Lee’s work has always been about the human body but expressed in a metaphorical way; however, her more recent sculptures reference it more directly. “It was my long-awaited wish to make a human body but I couldn’t find the right way until last year […] meditation and ashtanga definitely changed my senses and recognition of body and space, so I could start the new series,” she says. Works in the series include Eggshell (2023)—a reclining, fragmented human form made of aluminium tied together with copper wire—and Painkiller Buddha (2023)—a standing form drinking from a cup, which is made of plaster bandages tied with threads and features drawings by fellow artist Minkyung So.

“The allure of sculpture lies in its embodiment of presence. As a sculptor, I find resonance in the parallels between the physicality of sculpture and the limitations of the human form,” Lee says. “Paradoxically, it is through sculpture that I perceive the boundlessness of consciousness and perception, allowing for an integrated experience of existence.”

• Eusung Lee undertook a 2022 residency at Seoul Museum of Art and has held solo and group shows in several Seoul spaces and at Tiger Strikes Asteroid in New York

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