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Drawing inspiration from the futuristic vision of nineteenth- and twentieth-century utopian thinkers, Lee Bul’s works offer imaginative views on the development of site and place. In this session, following an introduction by M+ curator Pauline J. Yao, Lee Bul and architectural historian Cole Roskam discuss ideas of utopia and speculative architecture through the artist’s maquettes, on view now in the exhibition ‘Five Artists: Sites Encountered’, at M+ Pavilion through 20 October 2019.
Lee Bul (Korean, born 1964) is an internationally renowned artist who has made versatile contributions to contemporary art. Living and working in Seoul, she creates performances, sculptures, and installations to explore issues of gender and sexuality, questioning patriarchal authority by revealing ideologies that permeate our cultural and political spheres. Academically trained in sculpture, Lee appeared on the art scene in the late 1980s as a performance artist and turned her attention to sculptures by the mid-1990s. Crafted from materials such as metal, silicone, and crystal beads, her recent sculptural works often draw inspiration from the futuristic visions of nineteenth-and twentieth-century utopian thinkers and architects. Mid-career retrospectives of her work have been mounted by the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012) and the Hayward Gallery, London (2018).
Cole Roskam is Associate Professor of Architectural History in the Department of Architecture. His research explores architecture’s role in mediating moments of transnational interaction and exchange between China and other parts of the world. His articles and essays have appeared in AD (Architectural Design), Architectural History, Artforum International, Grey Room, 建筑学报, and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, among others. He is the author of Improvised City: Architecture and Governance in Shanghai, 1843-1937 (University of Washington Press, 2019), and recently completed a second book that examines China’s architectural culture during the country’s early reform era (1978-1990).
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