Sojung Lee

Sojung Lee(GALLERY2)

Sojung Lee adjusts and finds balance between the autonomy of image and artist’s control. She gives inevitable structure to images that arise through coincidence. Lee contemplates the balance and harmony created through the utilization or control of images that prolierate on their own.

Sojung Lee (b.1979) has been creating organic abstract works based on the brush and ink style of oriental paintings. Forms and figures from earlier works would lead to her next work, and this would process would repeat itself, creating a perpetual pattern of succession and proliferation. In the works presented here, Lee follows the incidental trail left by the previous painting series (wrinkles on Korean custom-made hanji paper caused by uneven drying, etc.), as if it were a template. In carrying out the iterative process, fortuitous traces once again find a place on the image plane. Lee guides and controls those traces, and goes on to find form and narrative so they can become a necessity.

Sojung Lee has been creating organic abstract works based on the brush and ink technique of oriental paintings. Forms and figures that appeared in previous works become the source of her next work, as it repeats the process of succession and proliferation. The artist who has been creating new images based on coincidental forms now attempts to create an inevitable necessity by replicating coincidence. Works presented in Hinges result from using coincidental shapes of by-products used in the production of previous works as new frames and creating another coincidence on the image plane.

In an earlier series titled Detectives, Lee laid hanji (Korean mulberry paper) over jangji (Korean paper), and then removed it after applying color and ink over it. She then sought to discover forms among the traces of paint and ink that smeared through hanji. Sheets of hanji that functioned as filters eventually dried and piled up, with wrinkles and creases that were naturally created. Lee placed these on another surface to use them as templates for reproducing coincidence and created “intended coincidences” by applying color and ink over them again.

When intention intervenes in the process of making coincidence, “inevitable necessity” is bound to be created. In order to make this “coincidental” again, the artist covers it up with a thick layer of acrylic paint. In doing so, she creates a border between form and margin, and makes that chunk of form stand out. In other words, as the process of using coincidental elements as templates for another work is iterated, a part that’s been coincidentally created becomes an inevitable and necessary element, and another coincidence is born through that inevitable creation.
Coincidence exists because it can’t be duplicated or reproduced. However, coincidence exists in replicated forms in Sojung Lee’s works.

“Through my experience of giving birth and raising a child, I came to think that all of us came into this world by an incredible chance of coincidence, though it feels like we are here because we were meant to be here. Each individual becomes an inevitable necessity as they establish relationships with someone or something in their own ways. This concept has been on point with the question that had been the foundation of my work and practice thus far. The process of creating an inevitable scene by assisting or controlling the coincidental traces or self-generative images created by coincidence on an empty page without rough sketches always goes back and forth between coincidence and inevitable necessity. We can say that exhibition visitors also establish coincidental relationships with the works on view. I hope that visitors will not stop there, but go on to examine each and every element of the paintings and experience their individual coincidences and inevitable necessities.“ – Sojung Lee

– Exhibition Text, Hinges, P21

Sojung Lee
2011 M.F.A., Oriental Painting, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
2003 B.F.A., Korean Painting, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea
Solo exhibitions
2021 Hinges P21, Seoul, Korea
2019 Detectives, Gallery2, Seoul, Korea
2016 Mirror Stage, Gallery2, Seoul, Korea
2013 Linkage, DOOSAN Gallery, Seoul, Korea
Anthologia, Doosan Gallery, New York, NY, USA
2011 Cuttage, Gallery2, Seoul, Korea
Revenge of the Manuals, Brain Factory, Seoul, Korea
2010 An actress never sweats, Window gallery, Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea
2009 Unfamiliar Holiday, Gallery2, Seoul, Korea
2007 Coward on a Snowfield, Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
2005 Name Me, Seoul National University Art Museum, Woosuk Hall, Seoul, Korea
Group exhibitions
2020 Kumho Museum of Art Collection, Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
2019 Kumho Young Artist: The 69 Times of Sunrise, Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul, korea
2017 apmap 2017 jeju-mystic birth, Jeju Tea Museum, Jeju, Korea
2016 JEJU JUNGLE, Arario Museum Tapdong Bikeshop, jeju, Kore
2014 Time of Resonance, Jeju Museum of Art, Jeju, Korea
Being in Phenomena, LIG ART SPACE, Seoul, Korea
2012 Artshow Busan Asia Artist Award, BEXCO, Busan, Korea
TTell me something, Ando Fine Art, Berlin, Germany
No.45 Kumho young Artist, Kumho Museumn Seoul, Korea
2011 An abstract of the Second Coming, Artspace Loo, Seoul. Ko
Do Window, GALLERY HYUNDAI Gangnam Space, Seoul, Korea
2010 As If You Know, AANDO FINE ART, Berlin, Germany
2009 MUSEUM2,Korea art gallery, Busan,Korea
2008 Privacy: Alternative Space Loop, Seoul, Korea
Beyond Cartoon: Asian Contemporary Art Group Show, Beyond Art Space, Beijing, China
SeMA 2008, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
2007 Pocheon Asia Biennale 2007, Pocheon, Korea
IAS Exhibition: Yeol, Insa Art Space, Seoul, Korea
2006 Khaos: Gana Art Gallery, Seoul, Korea
Whey Protein, Kimiart, Seoul, Korea
Simulation, Seoul National University Art Museum, Woosuk Hall, Seoul, Korea
2011 DOOSAN Artist Award
2013 Doosan Residency New York, NY, USA
2006-7 Artists in Long-term Residency, 5th Changdong National Art Studio, Seoul Korea
2011 두산연강예술상
Kumho Museum of Art
Doosan Gallery
Suwon Museum of Art
MMCA Art bank

Curator: Taehyun Kwon & Artist: Sojung Lee


Q. You seem to make sense of the autonomy of image in a very special way, rather than define it conceptually.
While painting, in a way that the image develops itself, there were times when I felt like the image expands organically on its own. Images expand their bodies and all I do in the process is provide my hand as a tool to realize that expansion. Of course, there is no real logic to this, but I have been making art based on this illusion.


Q. Your early works, in which you tried to control the image, and relatively recent works appear to have been made a bit differently.
If you leave everything up to images that are made organically, the canvas fills up too quickly and too easily. You need a force that controls and adjusts them. The power of the image that proliferates, expands, and completes itself makes me anxious. In the early days, I tried to control this more actively, which is why I cut out images with knives and attached them on jangji paper. I basically diassembled an organically created scene, and then recombined the disassembled pieces. Recently, I have been making my work by tracing what the images have made. I am not taking complete control over the authonomy of the image, but rather finding balance by making a coincidental situation an inevitable one.


Q. Could you describe your recent methodology in further detail?
I place hanji (Korean mulberry paper) over jangji paper, and then apply watercolor paint. Once I remove the hanji layer, traces of hanji and watercolor are found. There is no way of knowing how these traces will look and how light or dark they will be before removing the sheet of hanji. Then I follow these traces made by coincidence and paint with thick coats of acrylic paint to transform coincidental forms into inevitable protrusions.


Q. I see that the issue concerning the autonomy of image is expanding into the issue of materiality.
Traces on the canvas reveal themselves through the effect created when materials with different properties interact. They create unique scenes, by embracing or excluding one another, depending on their material characteristic or relational effect, such as osmotic pressure and water repellency.


Q. The interaction between different materials and the issue of embracing even human control as a form of artistic practice make us think about new perspectives on the possibilities of material in the contemporary age.
Creating unexpected situations through the autonomy of material and image is interesting. There really are times when I just provide my hand as a means of realizing art that comes into being on its own. That makes me want to respect the image that came into existence by itself, and moreover, I sometimes ask myself of the concept of coincidence and inevitability between self-creation of art and human control.