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Everyday Materials Intervening in Unconventional Spaces: ‘Yona Lee: An Arrangement for a Room in Seoul’

exhibition Park Jiyoun Jul 01, 2024

SPACE July 2024 (No. 680) 


Exhibition view of ‘Yona Lee: An Arrangement for a Room in Seoul’ / Image courtesy of Art Sonje Center / ©Nam Seowon 


The exhibition ‘Yona Lee: An Arrangement for a Room in Seoul’ is on display at the Art Sonje Center until Aug. 4. Yona Lee’s work An Arrangement for a Room in Seoul, which shares its name with the exhibition, features the installation of stainless steel pipes in the unused spaces of Art Sonje Center, such as the hanok, the rooftop garden, and the connecting interior staircase. This work ties into Lee’s previous site-specific projects. The stainless steel pipes is densely arranged like a maze in the hanok to match the scale of the space, while it is loosely planned in the rooftop garden to allow for an expansive city view. This approach reflects the artist’s experience of moving from Korea to New Zealand during her childhood, aiming to reveal the different urban densities of the two countries through her work. Another characteristic of Lee’s series of works is the use of everyday materials found in urban settings. This piece also employs industrial materials like stainless steel, used in staircase railings, subway bag racks, and handles, alongside fluorescent lights, lamps, mops, beds, and chairs and clocks designed to resemble those found in trains and stations. These ordinary objects provoke questions about whether they can be sat on or lain down on and whether they are existing handles or newly installed artworks, disrupting the viewers’ preconceived experiences and thoughts in the unconventional and institutional space of the art gallery. Meanwhile, Art Sonje Center, in planning the museum on the site of a hanok in 1998, built an annex in the hanok style to remember the site’s past. This annex has been used for a café, forums, and exhibition spaces.