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Saatchi Yates to Hold Breakthrough Korean Artist Sujin Lee’s First UK Solo Show - FAD Magazine

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Saatchi Yates to Hold Breakthrough Korean Artist Sujin Lee’s First UK Solo Show

Saatchi Yates to open a Korean artist Sujin Lee first UK solo exhibition, set to open on Wednesday 2nd February.
Born in Korea’s Jeju Island, famous for its rich landscapes, Lee has since moved to the contrasting metropolitan hub of Seoul where she currently lives and works.

Sujin Lee Genga 2021 Acrylic on Canvas 150×120 Courtesy the artist and Saatchi Yates

Entering a female-only world, the exhibition sees Lee celebrate female friendships, sisterhood, and all that lies in-between. Pursuing a painting practice predicated upon observation and learning by looking, Lee draws on her immediate surroundings for inspiration, with her fervent observation eventually leaning inwards and towards
self-reflection.

We heard about a young artist with a small cult following in South Korea and became increasingly intrigued by her world. She was painting in the ‘Superflat’ style of Murakami and Nara but bringing an elegance and charm through the characters in her female-only world. We started speaking to Sujin in 2019 and she has spent the last two years working on a large-scale exhibition which we are very delighted to present in London.

Phoebe Saatchi Yates and Arthur Yates

Comprising 20 paintings ranging from small portraits to large group scenes, Lee’s new body of work is inspired by her close circle of friends, influencing the groups of female figures represented throughout her paintings. Heads rest upon shoulders or nestle into necks, cheeks press against cheeks, hands hold, with an intimacy encapsulated and a closeness of contact much missed in recent pandemic plagued times.

Sujin Lee Flower 2019 Acrylic on Canvas 50×40 Courtesy the artist and Saatchi Yates

With a desire to paint her own lived experiences and to experience life through her paintings, Lee develops an air of possible self-portraiture, all the while resisting representational portrayals; rather opting for a more emotionally engaged likeness or more intimate artistic impression. Stating, “what are these girls? Is this me? Or is this just a
painting?” Lee asks us to consider her subjects as symbols of friendship, our own relationships with ourselves and others, and also intimate parts of the artist herself.

Inspired by the tranquilising presence of nature in her hometown of Jeju Island, the artists’ latest work also introduces more scenic, surrealistic backdrops of bowed branches, flowing fronds and towering tree trunks, and dreamscape set-dressing for her monumental, staged society portraits.

Almost entirely self-taught, Lee originally studied visual communication and flirted with a career in commercial illustration, before she became frustrated with the constraints placed upon her creative expression and instead, turned to painting as a source of liberation. Lee’s earliest works are notable for their grounding in reality, showcasing snapshots of urban life populated by figures appearing to follow contemporary fashion trends, or depicting domesticity and the interruption of an intimate moment.

Sujin Lee Lost 2020 Acrylic on Canvas 180×144 Courtesy the artist and Saatchi Yates

Almost entirely self-taught, Lee originally studied visual communication and flirted with a career in commercial illustration, before she became frustrated with the constraints placed upon her creative expression and instead, turned to painting as a source of liberation. Lee’s earliest works are notable for their grounding in reality, showcasing snapshots of urban life populated by figures appearing to follow contemporary fashion trends, or depicting domesticity and the interruption of an intimate moment.

Sujin Lee 2nd February – 26th March 2022 Saatchi Yates, 6 Cork St, London W1S 3NX

About the artist
Sujin Lee (b.1990, Jeju Island, Korea) Sujin Lee currently lives and works in Seoul, Korea. In 2019 she was awarded the Selected Artist Price, the 47th Grand Art Exhibition of Jeju. Selected exhibitions include: (2016) Glad to me, Carlos Queso Gallery, Los Angeles, (2017) One Page, Lottie Gallery, Seoul, (2019) Art in my Mouth, Secret Fresh Gallery, Manila.

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