• Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sa auction at Christies

    Sale 2726

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    30 November 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1658


    Price Realised  


    (b. 1969)
    The Conversation between Monet & Sochi
    signed 'Lee Lee Nam' in English (lower right)
    two monitors, mixed media, video installation art
    size of monitor: 67 x 5 x 120 cm. (26 3/8 x 2 x 47 1/4 in.) x 2 pieces length of video: 10 minutes
    edition 1/6
    Executed in 2009 (2)

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    Lee Lee Nam's appropriation of images from the art historical canon challenges the viewer's notion of authenticity and reproduction. He re-tunes works of old masterpieces, making small yet dramatic alterations to their compositions, adopting the characteristic of low art-popular culture's music video with high art's academic paintings.

    Lee's witty subtraction and addition of imagery proceed as the connecting sequences between the two masterpieces of the East and West, respectfully attending to both their aesthetic strengths, harmonizing it into a modernized narrative that affectionately captivates the viewer. Immensely entertaining, the subtle tweaking of images cross over each frame as the water of the impressionist seascape of Monet ripples across the dry vacuity of ink seascape of Heo Lyeon Sochi; as the island floats to the left by slowly taking form in colorful oil, it settles under the night sky of Monet's realm with a sudden unity of the two panels converting into a winter night, cityscape of Hong Kong. The calligraphic poetry in Sochi visually performs the title The Conversation between Monet and Sochi (Lot 1658) by extending across the images, paralleling its modulating occurrences by uniting past and present cultural references. Strikingly cohesive, Lee continues to manipulate and explore the cinematic field by this time, utilizing one image of New-Mona Lisa (Lot 1659). Constantly motioning visual rhythms by adapting motifs from art history in a profoundly light and subtle way, he keeps the eye moving emotionally as we eagerly linger for the image to surprise us; unconsciously waiting for the legend of the following eye of Mona Lisa to take place. A miniature airplane soars in front of Mona Lisa, as the adorably decorative actions of explosives and parachutes occur at the background as if in attempt to attack her, who sits and watches them in calm amusement. His conscious insertions of these playful events further heighten the three-dimensionality of the environment, generating a sense of presence/life that astutely coincides with his subtle criticism, and even as his celebration of duplication and simulation. Lee demonstrates that masterpieces have become a medium moreover a concept through wider and more diversified streams of circulation, into a form of luxury and product, consequently becoming an adept channel in blurring the gap between reality (original) and illusion (duplication).


    Metaphysical Gallery, Myth Inside Monitor, exh. cat., Taipei, Taiwan, 2008 (different edition illustrated, pp. 26-27).
    Shinsegae Gallery, Light & Art, exh. cat., Seoul, Korea, 2009 (different edition illustrated, p. 10).


    Taipei, Taiwan, Metaphysical Art Gallery, Myth Inside Monitor, 13 December, 2008-4 January, 2009 (different edition exhibited).
    Seoul, Korea, Shinsegae Gallery, Light & Art, 23 June-12 July, 2009 (different edition exhibited).
    Busan, Korea, Shinsegae Gallery-Centumcity, Light & Art, 12-26 July, 2009 (different edition exhibited).