Basement Project Space
A solo exhibition by
BPS Studio-member and current artist in residence
Daseul Lee
Opens: Friday 17th August at 6pm
Continues: 18th – 27th, 11am – 6pm (closed mondays)

Daseul Lee was Born in Je-Ju island South Korea. Currently artist in residence and studio-member at Basement Project Space for the past 3 months. Daseul works with a variety of media including photography, video, field recordings and poetry. Daseul graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of formative art and media art (B.F.A.) from Korea National University of Arts, Seoul, Korea. And received a Master of formative art and media art (M.F.A.), Korea National University of Arts, Seoul, Korea in 2011.
Daseul has exhibited in a solo capacity at the page gallery, Seoul, Korea in 2011 and Galley 175, Seoul, Korea 2010. Daseul has also been involved in various group exhibitions including Seoul Photo Festival, Seoul Museum Of Art, Seoul, Korea. Heteropopia, Alternative Space CHUNG JEONG GAK, Seoul, Korea. Overture 2 : Photography, P K M Gallery, Seoul, Korea. Daseul has a forthcoming solo exhibition at Gallery NORI, Je-ju Island, Korea towards the end of 2012.

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Speed of nature and of humans, seen from a frozen moment of time

Deabeom Lee (art critic)

The speed of nature is constant. However, maintaining that speed is not easy because people interfere with nature. People who are irritated by nature’s speed and constantly try to change it with technology. On the basis of this attitude, there is a desire to possess more than others. When people adjust to the speed of nature, their results are consistent. Therefore to possess ‘more’ than others, constant speed of nature should be rejected. This logic continues even now and people control the speed of nature for human desire, giving superlatives such as shortest, best, and biggest to nature. Naturally people rejected the production and consumption patterns which are supplied by nature and led to ‘speculation’ which is presented as mass production and mass consumption. This structure which can create sudden riches was considered the highest priority. Certainly this attitude gave the gift of ‘sudden growth’- whether positive or negative- to human society, but on the other hand it exhausted nature by the speed of human desire.

Daseul Lee focuses on the incongruity of the speed of nature and of humans. He goes to a city. The city is frozen in time like a clock without hands. There are houses where people should live but are hidden by forest-like tall grass. It is impossible to see whether they are inhabited. There are no people or cars in the town. There is only a narrow gauge railroad which goes through the town. Turn your gaze. Mine lines cross the blue sky; the quietly flowing river is red; and unrealistic trees grow on the artificial slag mountain. Now, many vehicles that come to the casino fill this bizarre and unfamiliar space. Past symbolic icons that have lost their meaning, but remain only as a ‘trace,’ show their strong power by interrupting current time. Time, although it seems to have frozen, still flies in this space. It is obvious that the pause that is shown in his work is not referring to a ‘general past’. Then we should ask a question: ‘Which past is frozen in this space?’
In his work, the visual element in common is the ‘coal.’ Clearly coal performed an important role of adding speed to human desire after the Industrial Revolution. Because of it, nature had to experience weariness which it didn’t have before. Now, however coal has lost its value. Nevertheless the speed of human desire does not stop. So people found a replacement to continue to drive the speed of human desire. Coal is discarded and now returns to the speed of nature. The important thing in his work is the artist withholds positive or negative judgment about the coal industry. Because his interest is the ‘time-space collision of past and present’ surrounding coal rather than coal itself.

Invisible world
Coal’s value is changed, so the space surrounding it is also changed. When we see the ‘present’ with physical eyes, this space is layered with the unfamiliar and odd images. And somebody can focus on the ‘past’ with nostalgia in this space. But Daseul Lee avoids that point of view. He juxtaposes the different time slots and makes us see the invisible world we never seen before. In other words, he is asking a question “What indeed exists in this space?” On the basis of this question, the artist’s awareness is revealed to be a doubt that time flows in a straight line.
Daseul Lee records in his work, the moment that drove the speed of human desire against the speed of nature now at the risk of being forgotten. It seems that his photographs put things in the place where they should be. Coal doesn’t appear in the foreground in his photographs. It is always shown to be attached to nature, because another human’s newly shown speed exists in the foreground. With this action he sees the ‘speed of human desire’ at the moment of collision of past and present, not the ‘coal’ that belong to the past. Although in a time of pursuing rapid change, his gaze reaches slowly and subtly and captures the incongruity of the speed of nature and of humans which is an invisible world that we have never seen before.


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