Tuesday, July 10, 2007

52nd Venice International Art Biennale

Thursday 7th June – I Giardini: at the Korean Pavilion – Hyungkoo Lee – The Homo Species. Born and raised in Korea Hyungkoo Lee experienced ‘undersized Asian male complex’ while he was studying in the US. An Asian man having internalized the notion of male-superiority is doomed to be frustrated when he comes face-to-face with his ‘bigger and stronger’ Caucasian counterpart. Lee started to create The Objectuals Series in 1999 with humble materials such as water-filled PET bottles and shooter glasses to visually enlarge parts of his body. Especially the Helmets (see above), an on going series, combines his interest in physiognomy with optical instruments to exaggerate which might be called ‘self-satisfaction devices’, function as pseudo-medical instruments for plastic surgery, as well as psychological therapy to heal the artist’s mental complex.

The Animatus Series. Lee also extends his concerns to fictitious bodies of cartoon characters by inventing their fossil bones in quasi-archaeological way. He turns fiction into history through his anatomical studies and imaginations. The resulted Animatus Series, attributed to the tradition of Pop Art, can be seen as the epitome of simulation in providing plausible physical references and zoological nomenclatures to fictional characters. And the familiar Hollywood cartoon figures (i.e. Tom and Jerry) caught at a critical moment create dramatic scenes in the palaeontological fossil skeletons.

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