19 December 2018 – 28 February 2019
Working at the intersection between media arts and biology, Soyo Lee (b.1976, South Korea) mobilises archival materials and museological codes of display to critically examine conventions of collecting, manipulating, and displaying life-forms. In 2017, she initiated Lifeforms in Culture, an independent publishing platform dedicated to artistic and cultural inquiries about biological organisms. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at venues such as Seoul Museum of Art (2018); Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea (2015, 2016) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2016). The installation Wet Specimen Conservation (2014) is on permanent display at the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, United States. She holds a PhD from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, United States.
Fascinated by the inconsistencies in taxonomic nomenclature and natural history illustrations within her own country, since 2017 Soyo Lee has been tracking the lineage of natural history representations and systems of classification in Korea. Unlike Japan and most South and Southeast Asian countries, Korea did not actively engage with Western naturalism during the modern era. Opposed by Neo-Confucian scholars during the 19th century, scientific systems for classifying and illustrating nature were introduced during the Japanese colonial rule (1910-45), with the first illustrated botanical index by a local botanist being published only in 1943. This longterm research project aims to develop a comparative analysis of the history of nature illustrations in Korea, Japan, and tropical Asia. During the residency, Lee will conduct archival research in order to map the trajectory of European naturalist worldviews in Singapore and Southeast Asia and explore colonial subjectivities embodied in this specific form of representation.
26 Jan 2019, Sat 02:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Residencies OPEN offers a rare insight into the often-introverted sphere of the artist studios. Through showcasing discussions, performances, installations, and works-in-progress, Residencies OPEN profiles the diversity of contemporary art practice from around the globe and the divergent ways artists conceive an artwork with the studio as a constant space for experimentation and research.
Come meet our current Artists-in-Residence in their studios! Featuring Francisco Camacho Herrera (Colombia/Netherlands), Daniel Hui (Singapore), Soyo Lee (South Korea), John Low (Singapore), Tan Kai Syng (Singapore), and John Torres (Philippines).
Image caption: Residencies OPEN, January 2018.