Stage of Mind is a series of surreal photographs constructed by South Korean artist JeeYoung Lee in her tiny studio confined within an area of 3 x 6 metres. Lee spends weeks and sometimes even months transforming her studio space in to colourful and momentary dreamscapes. Different sets consisting of vivid scenes are created with various materials portraying the artist’s dreams, past memories and personal experiences. Lee focusses on the precise details while creating the sets in order to exclude any digital manipulation after the hand-built, intricate dreamscapes are photographed.
JeeYoung Lee explains, “By building the space with my personal, psychological experiences in everyday life, I try to visualize my inner world of which the meanings cannot be value-judged. My work, in essence, records my concerns and process of growing up. It narrates and dramatizes my life stories.”
In the midst of each of these sets stands the artist : those self-portraits however are never frontal, since it is never her visual aspect she shows, but rather her quest for an identity, her desires and her frame of mind. Her imaginary is a catharsis which allows her to accept social repression and frustrations. The moment required to set the stage gives her time to meditate about the causes of her interior conflicts and hence exorcise them; once experienced, they in turn become portents of hope.
“Lee’s constructed realities belong to the “directorial mode,” employed since the 1980′s by Post-modernist photographers in repudiation of the Modernist practice that sought truth in the everyday world. Lee’s “constructed image photography” may be compared to the works of German sculptor and photographer Thomas Demand…U.S. installation artist and photographer Sandy Skoglund’s orchestrated room-size installations. But in contrast to these earlier artists, Lee’s subjects are deeply personal and intensely psychological. Drawing upon prodigious powers of imagination, she labours for months to create effects that seem to expand and contract physical space. And always, a lone figure inhabits and completes her narratives. JeeYoung Lee assumes the roles of set designer, sculptor, performer, installation artist, and photographer – and she executes them all magically.” – says Curator Hyewon Yi
My Chemical Romance
Never Ending Race