Working across sculpture and photography, the exhibition will present works from both her Aporia and Day and Night Series. Aporia, meaning “coming to a dead end” in Greek, was inspired by Roland Barthes’s “A Lover’s Discourse” that tells the story of the ineptitudes of people in love. According to Barthes, when one falls in love the beloved becomes a mystery and one will ceaselessly try to figure out the reasons for their mysterious feelings. The desire to express one’s love produces lies and conflicts leading to a dead end. For Lee, those empty phrases reveal the solitude and sorrow of modern people today.
Inspired by Barthes’s close reading of desire and love, Lee slows everything down patiently analyzing that most intense and overwhelming of states, unanswered desire - the language of complete love and the deep solitary state it throws the lover into. Collecting cliched expressions of love and hatred- very much like Barthes’s collections of of hesitations, stammerings and gasps- Lee places them in deserted landscapes in the form of neon text sculptures, mimicking cold neon signs so often found in cities. The result is a group of beautiful and melancholy empty landscape photographs, contrasting sentimental phrases such as “I still remember”, “Once in a lifetime” and “How could you do this to me?”, with stark layouts of deserted plains or barren snow fields.
In the works entitled Day and Night, Lee focused on 'God' and 'Love' as the two main words reflecting her interpretation of Dante's Divine Comedy where he highlighted the belief that true faith and love would lead you to heaven. Lee produces a cluster of those “divine” words and places them floating over the sea as reproductions or in a heap, demonstrating one’s desire to salvation.
Thus Lee’s constructed photographs evoke amorous intensity with a coolness that enables the viewers to find their own way into this world, to have their memories stirred, to consider what it means to be alive in time.
Jung Lee (b. 1972, Seoul) received a B.A. from Kent Institute of Art & Design and an M.A. in Photography from the Royal College of Art. Select solo exhibitions include “Day and Night” at One and J. Gallery, Seoul, Korea (2013) and a solo presentation at Frieze Art Fair, London (2011). Her work was included in numerous group exhibitions including 2012 Daegu Photo Biennale, the Incheon Women Artists Biennale, the 2010 Gwangju Biennale “10,000 Lives” under the direction of Massimiliano Gioni and the contemporary Korean photography exhibition “Chaotic Harmony” at the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston). She has also shown at the Seoul Museum of Art and Gwangju Museum of Art. She is currently participating in “Crossing Media - Der Kunst die Bühne” as part of the Esslingen Foto Triennale.