Lee Bul

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Widely recognized as the foremost Korean artist of her generation, Lee Bul has been the subject of solo shows at major museums throughout the world, including the Hayward Gallery, London (2018); Martin Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2018); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012); Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2004); and New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2002).

Born in 1964, Lee Bul made an early break with her academic training (BFA in Sculpture from Hongik University, Seoul) to establish her reputation with provocative works that crossed genres and disciplines, exploring themes of beauty, corruption, and decay. Now in the fourth decade of her career, she is a pioneering figure to a younger generation of artists influenced by the sensibility and method of her early work, the iconoclastic performances and multi-sensory installations that pushed the formal and conceptual boundaries of visual art.

Since the early 2000s, her work has engaged with themes of utopian modernity, the historical avant- garde in art and architecture, and the rise and fall of progressivist projects to reinvent the world, all deeply informed by her experience of growing up as the daughter of political dissidents during a period of turbulent political and social transformation in Korea.

Lee Bul’s work is held in prominent public collections throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tate Modern, London; British Museum, London; Musée d’Art Moderne Grand Duc Jean, Luxembourg; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; M+, Hong Kong; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Amorepacific Museum of Art, Seoul; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul.

She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2022); Ho-Am Prize in the Arts (2019); Insignia of Officier, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2016), presented by the Ministry of Culture, France; and the Noon Award (2014), presented by the Gwangju Biennale Foundation. She was also awarded a Menzione d’Onore (1999) for her contribution to the 48th Venice Biennale and was selected as a finalist for the Hugo Boss Prize (1998).


Top left image: View of exhibition, “MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2014: Lee Bul,” National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, 2014-15. Aubade III, 2014. Aluminum and stainless-steel structure, polycarbonate sheet, metalized film, LED lights, electrical wiring, fog machine, dimensions variable. © Lee Bul. Photo: Jeon Byung-cheol. Photo courtesy: National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.
Bottom left image: Installation view of Lee Bul: Crashing at the Hayward Gallery, 1 June – 19 August 2018. © Lee Bul. Courtesy: Hayward Gallery, London. Photo: Mark Blower.