Yein Lee (KR)

Yein Lee - Uncovered Sequence (2023)
epoxy putty, steel, lacquer, polystyrene, found objects
170 x 85 x 55 cm
courtesy the artist
photography Gert Jan van Rooij

Yein Lee - Uncovered Sequence (2023)

Unlike the figures that appear to react to one another in her recent work, it is a solitary form that looms between the trees here in the park. This mysterious figure is new work made for Eartheaters by Yein Lee (b. South Korea, 1988). Lee creates composite, science-fiction-like sculptures: gleaming creatures with wondrous cavities and protrusions, some of them nestling inside brood pouches, which often seem to come from the deep sea or from another planet.

Although created using the same visual idiom, Lee’s sculptures have often taken on a human-like form recently, resulting in what she describes as ‘junk bodies’. Uncovered Sequence is an example of this. The partially exploded form consists of shiny aluminium casts of body parts that repeat, as if a series of movements has been captured. Or have the body parts or components replicated themselves? Using wooden branches, found objects such as machine parts and electrical wires, a hybrid is created, in which the distinction between nature, technology and humans is eliminated.

As a result of the figure’s suggested movement and its outstretched arms with fingers appearing to branch, the sculpture may evoke associations with mythological representations. Just as in many myths, transformation is an important motif in Lee’s work. In a recent interview, she stated: ‘I want the viewer to take this idea that metamorphosis and monstrosity is maybe not that far away from us.’ With her alienating yet vulnerable sculptures, she not only speculates about the ecological consequences of the Anthropocene, but also calls upon us, mutable beings, to think about how we approach the Other. According to Lee, ‘otherness’ is a fluid position, one in which any of us might find ourselves.

Lee’s work will be displayed in the Netherlands for the first time during Eartheaters.