Black Sun by Mire Lee

As part of an ongoing initiative to promote new productions by emerging artists, and launched in collaboration with Kvadrat, the New Museum presented Mire Lee’s first solo exhibition in the United States.

The site-specific installation takes over the museum’s fourth floor and transforms it into an architectural environment dominated by animatronic sculptures that operate both like living organisms and biological machines. To create the sculptures, Lee drew inspiration from several unrelated fields, such as architecture, horror, pornography, and cybernetics. The artist selected Sahco’s Cocoon and Kvadrat Febrik’s Apparel, cutting and dipping the textiles in liquid clay to recreate the shapes of organs, bringing corporeal and body function into the realm of technology through low-tech motors, pumping systems, steel rods and more. Walking through the installation, visitors will have the feeling of traversing the visceral system of an organism as they traverse diverse emotional states such as desire, revulsion, anxiety, and tenderness.

The title of the exhibition “Black Sun” derives from Julia Kristeva’s 1987 book on melancholia. Similar to how the Bulgarian-French feminist and semiotician depicted the impossibility of communication when individuals face depression, Mire Lee’s sculptures exist as impenetrable entities, conveying a sense of environmental decay, emotional voids and psychological tensions.  

New Museum
4th Floor, 235 Bowery, NY 10002, New York
June 29 – September 17, 2023

Monday, closed
Tuesday – Wednesday, 11 am – 6 pm
Thursday, 11 am – 9 pm
Friday – Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm

About Mire Lee

Mire Lee (she/her) lives and works in Amsterdam. Lee has a BFA in Sculpture and an MFA in Media Art from the College of Fine Arts, Seoul National University, and was a 2018 resident at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Lee has had solo exhibitions at ZollamtMMK, Frankfurt (2022); Kunstmuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands (2022); Tina Kim Gallery, New York (2022); Art Sonje Center, Seoul (2020); Casco Art Institute, Utrecht, Netherlands (2019); and Insa Art Space, Seoul (2014); and a two-person show with H.R. Giger at Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2021). Her work was included in the 59th Venice Biennale (2022); 58th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2022); Busan Biennial (2022); 15th Lyon Biennial (2019); and the Gwangju Biennial Pavilion Project (2018). As recently reported by the New York Times, Mire Lee is a true Rising Art Star.

About New Museum

The New Museum is the only museum in New York City exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, the New Museum is a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists from around the world. From its beginnings as a one-room office on Hudson Street to the inauguration of its first freestanding building on the Bowery designed by SANAA in 2007, the New Museum continues to be a place of experimentation and a hub of new art and new ideas.

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