Mire Lee

KR, 1988
  • resident
    • 2018 – 2019

Artist statement

Much like how engines, pipelines, and drainage systems work, Mire Lee sees the internal organs and physiology of the human body functioning in the same way – as carriers of fluids. To explore this, she produces terrifying mechanical and erotic (even sadomasochistic sculptural scenes of (un)organised structures and devices that can react to stimuli, reproduce, grow, adapt, and maintain homeostasis. 

During her residency period (2018–19), she studied how to engineer such electro-mechanical devices to move in organic and unpredictable ways. Making use of minimalist kinetic technologies such as motors and pumps, her sculptures often required close collaboration with the electronics and metal workshop. Since her time at the Rijksakademie, Lee's work has taken on more biomorphic and cybernetic forms, with extraterrestrial-like beings suggesting a tension between life, non-life, and human anatomy. Using sound and motion to suggest living animatronic apparatuses, she has also constructed cryogenic sculptures out of low-tech motors, steel rods, and PVC hoses filled with grease, silicone, latex, oils, and other mysteriously viscous liquids. In this way, Lee’s kinetic insectoid incarnations maintain a particularly transgressive language. Viewers are left to imagine the exoskeletons of arthropods, agitating and twitching as massive biomorphic sculptures haunting them in vivid nightmare scenes. 

According to Lee, the process of creating these sensory objects is itself tied to the body; becoming a way for her to imitate the human body and its nauseatingly visceral functions, including metabolism and fluid circulation.

Mire Lee lives and works between Seoul and Amsterdam. She has held numerous international solo exhibitions, such as Art Sonje Centre, Seoul (2020); LilyRobert, Paris (2020); Casco Art Institute, Utrecht (2019); and Insa Art Space, Seoul (2014). She has also shown in group exhibitions at Kunstverein Freiburg (2021); Antenna Space, Shanghai (2020); and the 15th Biennale de Lyon (2019).

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