Lee Bul

'City of the Sun'

"City of the Sun," exhibited at the SCAD Museum of Art, is a select reading of artist Lee Bul's painting and sculpture from the past nine years. Through a multitude of material and media, including painting, performance, sculpture, video and installation, the artist engages with themes related to the historic and cultural endeavor for perfection and its subsequent failures.

Metal sculpture by define art guest Lee Bul
Lee Bul, "Untitled sculpture (M5)," mirrored tiles and acrylic paint on polyurethane sheets with stainless steel armature, 62.2" x 110.24" x 15.75", 2014. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.

The exhibition presents Bul's explorations of the modernization of the 20th century, which are directly tied to her childhood experiences living through a shift in South Korean society. She grew up in a leftist dissident household in a militarized South Korean town in the 1960s during a period of restriction, surveillance and repression. In this environment, Bul's family was subject to police searches of their home.

Her experiences of the modernization of the country contributed to the development of an artistic practice that engages with the relationship between humans and technology, progress, architecture and larger society. Her early radical artwork employed her own body in public performances that challenged societal attitudes toward women. From these early pieces, Bul's more recent work looks to architecture and human attempts at perfection. The artist draws inspiration from utopian principles and futuristic vision of architects like Bruno Taut. Through her meticulously constructed sculptures and paintings, she exposes society's failed efforts at achieving the ideal.

"City of the Sun" is part of SCAD deFINE ART 2019, held Feb. 26–28 at university locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.

About the artist

Portrait of artist Lee Bul

Bul has had solo exhibitions at Gropius Bau, Berlin, Germany; Hayward Gallery, London, England; Art Sonje Center, Seoul, South Korea; Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg; Mori Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York and many other prestigious international institutions. She was selected to contribute to both the main exhibition curated by Harald Szeemann and the Korean Pavilion at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999.

Bul lives and works in Seoul. She received a B.F.A. in sculpture from Hongik University, Seoul, in 1987.

Install Views


"City of the Sun" is curated by Ben Tollefson, assistant curator of SCAD Exhibitions.

Museum Admission

The exhibition is free for all museum members, and SCAD students, faculty and staff with a valid SCAD Card. Open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

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