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Stage of Mind
Opening Thursday 4 June, 5pm - 8pm
Artist's Talk: Friday 5 June, 1pm, Crescent Arts Centre
The Naughton Gallery is delighted to present South Korean artist JeeYoung Lee’s first solo exhibition in UK and Ireland, Stage of Mind. Born in Seoul in 1983, Lee works with a variety of media, employing painting, installation, sculpture, video, and lastly photography to capture her handmade dreamscapes. Taking inspiration from her life and experiences as a woman and an artist in Korean society, Lee materializes her feelings in her studio, fabricating sets with infinite precision and patience. The exhibition will showcase a selection of her photographic works alongside a reproduction of one of her installations, which will be built by the artist during a short residency in the Naughton Gallery.
The intricate and time-consuming nature of Lee’s artwork reflects a spiritual journey, which allows the artist to visualize and overcome her state of mind by externalizing her anxieties, worries and frustrations. Her works reveal a contrast between the negative feelings portrayed and the striking, vibrant colours employed, similar to the recurring contradictory feelings of hope and distress transpiring from her photographs. Lee appears in her staged photographs; however, they are atypical self-portraits as the artist never looks directly at the camera. She instead turns away, she hides behind objects, or she looks away. Lee’s constructed sets represent safe havens in which she finds protection from the hardship of the outside world, escaping reality and the pressures of daily life.
Each fabricated stage is ephemeral. The creative process of building the set is an integral part of her work, as is disassembling it. What remains are powerful photographs capable of transcending cultural and linguistic barriers by depicting surreal worlds, nightmares and anxieties we can all identify with. Her artworks are open to interpretation and give the onlookers the opportunity to reflect on their own memories and state of mind. On the occasion of Lee's exhibition, a series of contemporary South Korean films will be screened at QFT. Please visit www.queensfilmtheatre.com for further information.
Curated by Elisa Nocente. Presented in association with the OPIOM Gallery, Opio, France, and supported by the Korea Foundation. Part of Belfast Photo Festival 2015.
Exhibition continues until 26 July