Lee Bul: Crash

Gropius Bau
Berlin, Germany
29 September 2018 – 13 January 2019


Since the late 1990s, Lee Bul, who lives and works in Seoul, has received significant international recognition for her formally inventive and intellectually provocative work. Crash is the first exhibition Stephanie Rosenthal has curated as the new director of the Gropius Bau.

I want to get across a sense of walking through time, through different periods. My works are a kind of journey to another place, another time. We travel, but the stories are in the landscape and you can see that it’s always the same place. It’s like a diorama: there is a journey, but it is always the same view. The same site. — Lee Bul

The Gropius Bau serves not only as the location but also as a point of inspiration for the exhibition Crash. In the post-war era, the Berlin Wall was erected directly alongside the north facade of the building, situating the Gropius Bau in the vicinity of the border crossing and in the midst of political conflict. Embedded in the history of the building, the exhibition Crash highlights how Korea’s division and period of dictatorship impacted upon Lee Bul’s work, bringing to the fore how emotional topographies are reflected in utopian architectural visions.

Lee Bul’s diverse body of work comprises of performance and installation art that explores dreams, ideals and utopias influenced by futurist theories and science fiction, bioengineering and visionary architecture. Crash seeks to spark the imagination of many as a multi-sensory experience composed of several experimental elements. The works on display are characterised by sensual expressiveness, humour and, furthermore, Lee Bul’s own experiences with subtle allusions to the history and politics of Korea. Lee Bul’s expansive stage sets and landscapes experiment with unusual materials such as mother-of-pearl, crystals, leather or velvet, revealing imaginative topographies and revisiting utopia.

The exhibition Crash is an expression of Lee Bul’s extensive exploration of the nature of bodies and how they define our experience of the world by evoking sensations of their boundaries and borders. Crashpresents documentation from the artist’s early performances, sculptural works from series such as Monster and Cyborg, key pieces from utopia-inspired sculptures, recent immersive installations, drawings and paintings as well as Lee Bul’s latest artwork Scale of Tongue.

A public programme accompanies Lee Bul: Crash at the Gropius Bau. 

Lee Bul in conversation with Stephanie Rosenthal
Artist talk
Sunday, September 30, 3pm

Landscapes of the Body: Lee Bul’s Affective Spaces
Lecture by Laura Colombino
Thursday, October 18, 7pm

Real DMZ Project: Temporary to Permanent Art Productions at the Korean Demilitarised Zone
Lecture by Kim Sunjung
Thursday, November 8, 7pm

Tom McCarthy: Stiff with Refuse and the Dust of Stars
Reading on traumatic topologies and twisted landscapes
Thursday, January 10, 7pm

An exhibition organised by the Hayward Gallery, London, in association with the Gropius Bau, curated by Stephanie Rosenthal. It is funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds, with kind support by the Korea Foundation and the Arts Council Korea. The exhibition is part of the Berlin Art Week.

Gropius Bau is part of Berliner Festspiele.