• Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sa auction at Christies

    Sale 2726

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    30 November 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1681


    Price Realised  


    (b. 1977)
    Vanitas Bust
    signed, dated and numbered 'Lee; 2009; 1/3' in English (on the reverse) silicone and air-compressor installation
    25 x 28 x 54 cm. (9 7/8 x 11 x 21 1/4 in.)
    edition 1/3
    Executed in 2009

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    Utilizing silicone to deconstruct and reconstruct a face, Lee Byung Ho doesn't merely depict the stereotyped social implications it possess but moreover, exploits its resilient characteristic to present insightful societal concerns: the ongoing consumption and expulsion of air becomes a functional metaphor for our environment and way of life. Air, a vital source of authority that decides the movement of his sculpture is eloquently manipulated as Lee investigates its bi-polar propensity in simultaneously providing life and death.

    To Lee, dialogues, culture, environment, or mass media is measured as an invisible theory that channels in form of air particles, contaminating the fragile souls of individuals; where through such exposure, we alter, reflex and mold ourselves, breathing in this Earth's atmosphere that dramatically determines our human presence and psyche. Demonstrated on the shriveling exterior of the sculpture, the young woman painfully and drastically ages into exhausted elderly woman that reveal time and history that classical sculptures epitomize. Attending a posture of classical Greek sculpture, Vanitas Bust (Lot 1681) is delicately crafted in such realistic resemblance to the marble statues of the Hellinistic period. The head inflated with air surfaces a smooth yet firm coolness, verifying its utmost flexibility, to perhaps over insinuate the youth of this character. However as time unfolds the horizon of experiences struggles within the facial features, motioning the depth of wrinkles and hollow expressions that impersonate the theatrical expressions of Hellinistic art, where Lee too embraces the high contrasts of light, shadow and emotions to expose the human condition and state of mind. In conceptual likeness to its era, Lee manipulates decomposition and life to disclose his fascination with youth, exhibiting the same desire in immortalizing human presence in a sculpture. The succession of exhilarating suspense provoked by the creasing of the skin aptly torment our inner vulnerability by making us confront our deeply denied distress and state of mind triggered by society today.