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DMZ 아티스트 토크 | 이성미 | Sungmi LEE

DMZ 아티스트 토크 | 이성미 | Sungmi LEE

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DMZ Art & Peace Platform

2021, DMZ, Uni maru, Inter-Korean Transit Office

Through the installation Invisible and Visible, Sungmi Lee reflects on the tensions and military threats present at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the duality of natural ecology. Although the DMZ is a historically tragic place, the coexistence of peace and ecology is found in this place where many people once led their daily lives. It is the most realistic and unrealistic place at the same time and a paradoxical space where the past and the present coexist. For many, the DMZ can be perceived as exotic and distant, and such reality is illustrated in this work composed of two stainless steel frames. Rough pieces cast in transparent resin and dyed plexiglass are hung on each of these frames as simplified forms of barbed wire. Standing in front of the tantalizing resin sculptures that seem to both open up and block the view into the distance, viewers gain insight into the sad and dreadful realities of the families separated by war. Just as barbed wire signifies a physical and psychological barrier, the resin does not allow viewers to see the materialized image beyond the resin. In addition, these resin pieces embody the tears of separated families, and they radiate the energy of something pouring down like a waterfall. The work is expressed in gradations of blue, the color of peace, and white, the color of harmony. Together they represent the peace and unity of Korea. However, the sculpture is structured symmetrically along the vertical axis, hinting at the two Koreas’ paralleling relationship, which continues to the present day. Sungmi Lee is known for her installations that incorporate and induce new life and vitality into materials marked with tragic stories, such as shattered glass pieces from a car destroyed by accident. In this exhibition, the resin’s surface retains duality, appearing rough when viewed up close but shiny when seen from a distance.

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