Art in Wonderland: Stage of Mind

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Treasure Hunt © JeeYoung Lee, The OPIOM Gallery

I stumbled across the immersive and utterly beautiful artworks of JeeYoung Lee last year and have been mesmerized ever since.

The young artist, sculptor, photographer and surrealist creates photographs from the depths of her imagination and recreates these fantastical scenes by hand, appearing in each living portrait as a veiled figure, a crouching model or merely as a stray arm or leg, escaping from the canvas.

Over weeks and months she draws her own febrile universe within her tiny studio in Seoul, which measures just 3 x 6 m. Her dreamscapes are sometimes wistful, sometimes terrifying, sometimes moving, sometimes catapulting the viewer back in time to their childhood and sometimes dragging them with her into her nightmares.

In what will be Lee’s first European showcase, her extraordinary Stage of Mind: Scènes d’Esprit exhibition will open next month at the OPIOM Gallery in Opio, France and will run from 7 February to 7 March and is set, at least in my eyes, onw of the best exhibitions of 2014.

Here are my favourite of intricate her works of art, if you want to see the full gallery then you can find it on the OPIOM Gallery’s website here.

JYL007-JeeYoungLEE-OPIOM-Ill-be-back_120x96cm_Inkjet-print_2010I’ll Be Back © JeeYoung Lee, The OPIOM Gallery

Encouraging hope in desperate situations, I’ll be back is based on the Korean fable of the tiger that chases children down a well. A god suspends a rope from the sky to let the children escape but the tiger, when trapped, is doomed to fall by climbing a rotten rope.

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Resurrection © JeeYoung Lee, The OPIOM Gallery

A symbol for resurrection, purity and re-birth, Lee was inspired the Korean folktale of Shim Cheong and Shakespeare’s Ophelia, who drowned in a flower-strewn lake. Or, in Lee’s own words:  “I was born again by overcoming negative elements that had dragged me down and cleansed myself emotionally. The figure within a lotus blooming implies a stronger self who was just born again and is facing a new world”

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The Little Match Girl © JeeYoung Lee, The OPIOM Gallery

Based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson where a poor little girl is forced out to sell matches in the snow on Christmas Eve and, upon striking some to keep warm is shown fantastical visions of a happier version of her life.

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Blackbirds © JeeYoung Lee, The OPIOM Gallery

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