Could you please introduce your work and your practice, who you are and what you do?
I’m an artist based in Seoul, and am interested in making objects. My works focus not on the abstract concept of objects, but on how objects are used and distributed in real life. I’m interested in these conventional usages. The cultural background and conventions, such as the usage of objects, manufacturing process, or various standard units are the specific and abstract references that function as the raw materials that define the form of my work. Thus, my works are objects about objects.
I would like to hear about your recent show, “The Manner of Objects” at the Gallery Factory in Seoul, could you talk a bit about each piece in the show, The Pillar, Objects 1, 2 and 3, Blue Rectangles, Green Circles, Orange Squares and how they all collaborated to work together as one? I find each of the works really interesting on their own, but even more so in the images where they seem to bounce and play off of one another.
A certain archive of “common objects” defines the manufacturing process and form of my work. Thus, the three-dimensional works presented in this solo show seem as if they have specific links. Furthermore, the marbling works (Untitled) located in between the objects at the show metaphorically imply something that these objects share and have in common.
Could you talk about material a bit? It is in some ways easy to look at your works just as shapes alone, and almost forget what they are made of, at least for the time being. For example, in your Object 1 piece, I can pretty quickly see the green golf balls just simply as green circles, I am not thinking about golf when I am viewing the work. Is this a quality that you specifically look for in materials or strive for in your compositions?
Much of my works fall under the influence of historical movements such as Minimalism or the Russian avant-garde. However, I basically approach the historical movements of art history as “objects” like the readymades or the vernacular. The formal elements of The Object 1, such as the golf ball, green, sphere, square, and wheels, have been extracted from the point of intersection where common objects of real life meet the historical movements called forth as the readymade/vernacular. My works thus do not seem to be crafts, and I did not wish for them any of the so-called “chemistry” either. Rather, I took and used the pre-existing elements as if I were curating, and hoped that they would look as if they were physically adhered.
I am also interested to learn more about your ‘Adhesive Vinyl Sheets: For Common Center’ piece. Could you please describe this work?
Adhesive Vinyl Sheets: For Common Center that I presented at “Suitable Forms,” the pre-opening exhibition of Common Center, is, as the title implies, about the conventional design of vinyl sheets and about a new exhibition space named the Common Center. I directly extracted four different squares found in the Common Center’s identity, and pasted sheets of different designs on both sides of the glass to generate yet another different pattern. These flat patterns of vinyl sheets produced another work of three-dimensional relief and were named as Sidewalk Blocks.
Moving toward color, can you please tell me about 3, 5, 8, 9mm / W R B Y G NY NO NR NP NG? (scrolling down this page on your website at a quick speed is really great, by the way.)
Some of my works start from very specific objects. This work is one example. I arranged every possible combination that I could make with several kinds of labeling stickers —another “common object”— and the title of the work refers to the sizes and colors of the stickers used.
Are there any other specific works that you would like to talk about or share with our readers?
Rainbow. I bought tiles named the “Rainbow,” arranged them as a rainbow and surrounded them with wooden molding. This was my very first work of “common objects.”
Printed Matter Storage Boxes. This work was presented at “Guts and Cooperation” which is curated for specific conditions of the studio of graphic designers, Eunjoo Hong & Hyungjae Kim. Various kinds of printed matter such as posters, postcards, or little leaflets are always tricky to store, and this work addresses the usefulness of an object designed accordingly to industrial standard units. This is a useful object that can be of actual use in a designer’s studio.
What are you working on currently? What’s next for Eunu Lee?
From the end of this December to the beginning of next February I will be participating as an artist in residence at Singapore’s Grey Projects. I intend to continue my archive on “common objects” manufactured in a cultural background completely different from that of Seoul. I am working on a catalogue that is to be published in mid December. There is a solo exhibition scheduled for next year at the Project Space of Art Sonje Center. It will be yet another exhibition of and about objects, and I imagine it to be something in-between a project-specific project and a non-project-specific project. Also, I am working on an exhibition curated upon the domain in arts that cannot be explained in general language.