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Exhibition: ‘Utopia Saved’, Lee Bul solo show at Manege Central Exhibition Hall St Petersburg

Text by CLOT Magazine

Willing To Be Vulnerable (2015–2016/2020). Installation view of the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016). Photo credit: Algirdas Bakas. Courtesy of Lee Bul

Lee Bul is a contemporary sculpture and installation artist whose career spans over three decades. She is one of the main figures in Korean contemporary art. Bul’s work will now be exhibited for the first time in Russia with a major solo show at Manege Central Exhibition Hall, St Petersburg. Opening on 13 November, the show, titled Utopia Saved, will provide a true insight into Bul’s work, reflecting back on contemporary art in South Korea and Asia as a whole.

Bul was born in South Korea in 1964, and the experience of growing up in South Korea during a period of political upheaval shaped and permeated much of her work. Her source of inspiration comes from science fiction, philosophy and personal experience. The work of Lee Bul has, in many respects, defined the development trajectory of contemporary Asian Art and has also had a significant influence on the artistic process worldwide. 

Lee Bul has been quite active in all aspects of the exhibition planning, from developing the initial idea and selecting the works to prepare the catalogue and coming up with architectural solutions for the exhibition. The project will also focus on the creative visual dialogue between Lee Bul and the Russian avant-garde. Included in the latter are works by artists Kazimir Malevich, Aleksandr Rodchenko, and Aleksandra Ekster, architects Ivan Leonidov and Iakov Chernikhov, scientist and thinker Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, and others.

Curators Sunjung Kim and SooJin Lee share that Lee Bul’s longstanding fascination with utopia entered a new phase in the first decade of the 21st century when she started creating architectural sculptures and drawings inspired by Constructivism and Russian avant-garde art and architecture: The artist uses icons and tropes from utopian modernism, transforming, allegorising, and juxtaposing them in her own creative works. She engages with utopian modernism with empathy and originality, critique and imagination. “Utopia Saved” is Lee Bul’s first solo exhibition to be held in Russia, and for the first time, presents her post-2005 works alongside the Russian art that inspired them.”

The exhibition will be open until 31 January 2021.

(Media courtesy of the artist)
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