Lee Bul

Critics' pick
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Elisabeth Bernstein
Lee Bul, installation view
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Harold Cunningham
Lee Bul, Monster Black, 1998-2011
3/13
Elisabeth Bernstein
Lee Bul, Via Negativa, 2012
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Elisabeth Bernstein
Lee Bul, Via Negativa, 2012
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Elisabeth Bernstein
Lee Bul, Via Negativa, 2012
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Elisabeth Bernstein
Lee Bul, Via Negativa, 2012
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Elisabeth Bernstein
Lee Bul, Via Negativa, 2012
8/13
Elisabeth Bernstein
Lee Bul, Via Negativa, 2012
9/13
Remy Villaggi
Lee Bul, Via Negativa, 2012
10/13
Jeon Byung-cheol
Lee Bul, Untitled sculpture (M4), 2014
11/13
Lee Bul
Lee Bul, Lee Bul, Untitled sculpture (M5), 2014
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Lee Bul
Lee Bul, Of Roses, 2014
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Lee Bul
Lee Bul, Untitled, 2014
Free

Korean artist Lee Bul’s latest show opens with a piece from 1998: a squidlike, three-dimensional form covered in sequins and matted flowers. It’s a fitting preface to her newer, architecturally inspired efforts, which similarly combine beauty with a trace of menace.

Among the sculptural offerings is the show’s centerpiece: a walk-in maze of mirrors and lights. Seductively futuristic and impossibly complicated, the work leaves you in a state of enchanted puzzlement.

Titled Via Negativa II, and prompted by the question of what constitutes the divine, the piece hovers like a dystopian mirage over mirror-tiled floor. From the outside, it resembles a boxy bus shelter, silkscreened with a text on the development of human consciousness. The inside features a disorienting mirrored environment, an inner sanctum of warmly colored lights that appear to extend into infinity in all directions.

Lee has professed an interest in early-20th-century German architect Bruno Taut and his proposal for a cathedral-like glass structure in the Alps. And in fact, her installation shares something of Taut’s vision of achieving greater self-awareness through an intense interaction with your environment. But Taut was expressing a utopian brand of optimism that is simply no longer possible. Lee acknowledges as much, imbuing her artworks with a sense of thwarted idealism made all the more palpable by their otherworldly allure.—Merrily Kerr

Event phone: 212-254-0054
Event website: http://lehmannmaupin.com
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