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The Lehann Maupin gallery in the Lower East Side is hosting an exhibit by South Korean artist Lee Bul. Until June 21, 2014, curious viewers can enjoy this forth exhibit by Bul. Bul’s work is a futuristic, cyborgian investigation into the tensions underpinning utopian idealism and humanities urges to transcend the physical world. Influenced by her home nation’s meteoric rise into the modern age during the second half of the 20th century, Bul’s work continues to be striking and thought provoking.
Bul has long looked critically at the idealized version of the human form and how it decays, corrupts and dissatisfies. Her work shows how physical, spiritual and intellectual boundaries are transcended as humanity and technology continue to converge. With a distinct feeling of science fiction, Bul’s most recent exhibit continues to expand the viewers understanding of the perfect future we ultimate wish to create and inhabit. Drawing on the classic images of a utopian future, Bul intensifies the isolation and apathy of the future humanity is creating.
The installations in the exhibit hang from ceilings, mount walls, and occupy whole rooms. The grandest of the installations is Via Negative II. The immersive piece stretches into the spiritual realm, creating a maze of corridors all fixed with fractured, mirrored surfaces. The labyrinth leads into a central chamber, filled with illuminated mirrors, given the sense of infinity and a closeness to some central spiritual entity. The effect is jarring and disorientating in the best kind of way. The piece is suggesting that the devine in unknowable, alluding to the apophatic theology, which posits that the Devine transcends being and can only be defined by stating what it isn’t. This unknowable quality of the devine is why Bul uses mirrors so heavily. Mirrors dont have any color or form to them independently and can only be understood through their relationship to the viewer.
The exhibit, taken as a whole, encourages the viewer to think about the fading dichotomy between humanity and technology and the philosophical implications of those blurring lines. Bul’s latest work only solidifies her place as one of South Korea’s most prominent artists.
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