For the first exhibition of 2020, PKM Gallery is pleased to present Jungjin Lee: VOICE, a solo exhibition of Jungjin Lee, an artist who is known to have expanded the artistic horizons of fine-art photography through her meditative practices. This exhibition, which is held in two years since her traveling retrospective show, Jungjin Lee: Echo, at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, showcases a selection of 25 photographs throughout the premises of PKM and PKM+. The works on view include the 'Opening' series (2015–2016) of which its natural landscapes portray the artist's inner self, and her latest series, 'Voice' (2018–2019), which is shown to the public for the first time at PKM gallery.
Traveling the American west, Lee captured the moments of the nature implicitly revealing its primitive state. Her photographs, which involve a process of waiting and gazing until the object reveals its true nature, are meditative, picturesque, and suggestive of eternity that transcends the notion of time. The works in this exhibition entail Lee's distinctive technique of combining the analog printing on handcrafted hanji (Korean mulberry paper) and contemporary digital printing. Her unique method results in a balance between the visible image and the texture, providing the audience an immersive experience rather than simply allowing them to look at the pictured object.
The 'Voice' series, at the main exhibition space, consists of large-format photographs that are on display for the very first time. Photographing the majestic landscapes of the United States and Canada, Lee took time to reflect on her mind, thus infusing her subjective impression instead of simply documenting the physical characteristics of the landscape. The title of the series, 'voice', implies Lee's consciousness projected onto the landscapes as well as the echoes from the nature sent out to the artist herself. The distance between the origin and the altered forms of nature in Lee's photographs can be regarded as the voyage through her internal state of mind, which offers a sensorial experience rather than being a mere visual. The unspoken words that Lee conveys within the lines of nature resonate within our minds like a piece of poetry and allow the viewers to regard themselves, not the artist, as the subject of attention.
The 'Opening' series in PKM+ are photos in narrow verticals of solitary and isolated places. Different from the usual panoramic landscape photos, her long narrow works in hanji are reminiscent of traditional Korean hanging scrolls. She deliberately chose the vertical format and the title to convey the feeling of looking at the landscape with a vacant mind—beyond the limits of human perception. Lee's cropped images are not visually restricted when imagining a panoramic view of the vast desert, thus providing an 'opening' that leads to a general understanding of the entire landscape. In a way, each vertical photograph is a self-portrait of an individual. The exhibition hopes to make a profound impression on the viewers through Lee's photographs, which harmonizes well with the beautiful winter scenery from the gallery windows.
Jungjin Lee studied ceramics at Hongik University in Seoul and taught herself photography. She later earned an M.F.A in Photography from New York University, and in the early 1990s was a student and an assistant to Robert Frank. Since then, she has been actively working back and forth between the United States and Korea, and she is currently residing and working in New York. She participated in the photography project Israel: This Place between 2010 and 2011 that was put together by the French photographer Frédéridc Brenner. Thomas Struth, Stephen Shore, and Jeff Wall are among the other twelve prominent photographers who joined the show. Since 2014, the exhibition has been traveling to numerous well-renowned institutions and is currently on show at the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Throughout the show, Lee was internationally acknowledged as the only Asian photographer invited to participate in the project. In 2016, she had a major retrospective at the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, which later traveled to the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts, Gwacheon in 2018. Lee's photographs are included in the collections of world-renowned institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), National Museum of Australia (Canberra), and in FNAC (Paris). Artist's books Unnamed Road, published by Mack, Everglades and Opening by Nazreli Press, and Desert by Radius Books have caused a sensation in the Western publishing houses. The photobook, Voice, will soon be published from the Radius Books in the spring of 2020.
At 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 1, an artist talk will be held in PKM+ with Jisoo Park, the chief editor of VOSTOX magazine, as the moderator. Besides, a limited amount of Lee's photo book Opening will available for sale during the exhibition period.
Press release courtesy PKM Gallery.