Shrouded in the illusion of cultural globalization, we have become acculturated to other places in the world as they enter our virtual world. Artists call up diverse images, providing fresh stimuli and recognizing the unknown in their environments. Through duality and ambiguity, artists provide emotional awakening, through which people can mutually confirm their identities, and concepts that lead to stasis within life’s complexity.
Lee’s show is an astonishing installation combining two walls composed of many small frames on shelves that extend from the bottom to the top of the gallery wall.
“through duality and ambiguity, artists provide emotional awakening, through which people can mutually confirm their identities”
Lee Sang Yong, Fate, 2011. Courtesy of Kips Gallery.
Sang Yong Lee recently presented his third solo exhibition, titled “Fate,” in New York at Kips Gallery in West Chelsea. Lee’s show is an astonishing installation combining two walls composed of many small frames on shelves that extend from the bottom to the top of the gallery wall. Each frame holds a drawn image. When we look closer, we realize that the drawings are covered by transparent cellophane tape. Each frame is different, sometimes small, sometimes large. Lee collects antique picture frames in which he places his drawings. Whereas artists typically create their works and then choose the frame to match, Lee selects the frame first and places the drawing inside of it. He seals his drawings by using cellophane tape, from which he constructs a transparent grid. The drawings represent an emotional expression of his unconscious desires that ask essential questions about birth and death.
What is the meaning of this work? Lee thinks about “Fate.” The frame was a precious thing for someone in the past; now, it is in his hand. He takes a frame with an unknown history and adds to it his story and artistic effort. He is interested to know whether the previous owner of the frame will understand his process in the spirit world; it is an encounter that could be a destined meeting between the previous owner and himself. A close look at Lee’s works reveals many used and cancelled postal stamps beneath the drawings: Lee presents an invisible relationship that surround among the floating objects and the lives of human beings.