LEE Minho By HA Gye-Hoon, {Professor of the Graduate School of Dan kook University}
2011-04-23 02:43:42 , Tuesday

The subject matter overridingly in LEE Min Ho’s work is a human figure. The figure emerges in almost all her pieces. The figure is probably one of Lee’s acquaintances or a person she comes to know by chance in the course of her work making. Whatever the relationship, the artist has chiefly concerned herself with the universality of human nature we have in common, always featuring all the objects as a typical man.

What LEE has particularly noticed is the attributes of humans that are no longer prodigious or special and everybody has in common. Through a variety of human figures, LEE depicts alienation and isolation in modern society. By anonymously presenting an individual and his close-up views, LEE banishes any specificity, lending anonymous and universal quality of humankind to her work.

By deliberately deleting the face of a model in her serial work “Full Pace Photos” LEE reinforces its anonymous quality, making viewers brood about the social function of his type of photographs and their values. LEE majored in German literature and studied painting by herself. In her painting work commenced around 1990 when she went to Paris. LEE portrayed one’s side or near views in silhouette, ridding of their facial expressions. The figures cannot be accurately identified, as their faces are not perfectly depicted.

Lee’s painting mostly appears ambiguous in its perspective and sense of space. Through the figures with two shadows, LEE probably intends to connote the duplicity of humans or a duality of identity. I agree what Maxim Preaud, curator of the National Library of France stated the he felt a gloomy mood in her work.

While studying at the university in Paris, LEE worked in painting and photography simultaneously, but now her canvas becomes overwhelmingly dominated by the latter. Although LEE Min Ho works in a different medium and style, she still deals with the matter of humankind. The subject matter she adopts ranges from her acquaintances to strangers and the domain of her art physically extends from her personal indoor space or the space between herself and a model to a farther, wider space.

The figures she has a particular concern with are set in a somewhat bleak, gloomy background rather than in a splendid place of downtown area. This place is not pursued deliberately but is quite akin to her living space. Accordingly, LEE equates herself with the figures she views and then captures them with the camera, otherwise at least has sympathy with them.

Right before returning to Korea, LEE photographed a residential suburb of Paris and made it a work of art, in which space gradually became more important than a manifestation of figures. Through the viewfinder of her camera, the artist looks people who are living under the non-organic environment surrounded by cement and glad. Her sensibility is found in the gaze at those segregated from nature and living in communication disruption.

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