Sandra Eula Lee : Two waters
21.Jun.2011 - 24.Jul.2011
June 24 Fri. - July 24 Sun.
Opening reception_June 24, Friday, 6 pm
Sandra Eula Lee : Two waters
Art Space Pool is pleased to present “Two waters” (June 24 – July 24) by the artist Sandra Eula Lee, the second solo exhibition of the 2011 Pool Production and the second program of its inter-local projects series "Transversal". Transversal is focused on the common context of knowledge and the solidarity of thoughts encountered and acted on through relationships of autonomous agents, in-between formal and informal and beyond the differences of local cultures.
“Two waters”, an artist-initiative project centered on “researching garden traditions and landscapes altered by continual urbanization inSouthKorea and China,”*has traveled for two years though three regions: Goyang and Seoul in South Korea, Xiamen in China and New York in the U.S. Alongside the project title “Two waters,” it has a new Korean title, Gubi Sai (굽이 사이; between curves). Making a detour around its meaning, Gubi implies curves of water including streams, rivers, sea and oceans, or bodies of these waters; and Sai signifies two, as borders or thresholds exist between these bends of water.
Sandra Lee’s gardening does not approach nature as items or obligations. From an attention to the form of living people can make, her seeds are scattered in the wild garden. “As a combination of natural and cultural elements, the landscape reveals much about history, non-history, and memory”, she has “considered the garden as a form of expression and the potential it has to reflect attitudes and feelings we have towards our surroundings.” Because, the garden is “ephemeral in nature, andintimate and personal in form; it’s pieced together and cared for, sometimes handed to the next caretaker.”A new way for humans to extend our grasp into our neighboring surroundings is opened through these varied and endless gardens, “from palace gardens to scholar retreats, from mountain rock piles to potted plants in windowsills.” Sandra Lee placidly regards the “garden’sspecial ability to act as a container for ideas and expressions”.
During her residency in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York, Sandra Lee encountered a theory on gardening in relation to societies, politics, cultures and economy by Kenneth Helphand. According to her, “in his book,Defiant gardens, Helphand discusses how the power of a garden can be even greater when created in inhospitable environments. Making a garden can help a person feel more at home, even in changing conditions. Helphand focuses on gardens made by humans during times of war as well as spontaneous growth that can transform the face of a stricken landscape.” Connected to this view, she is composing her artistic contribution and investigation into the spaces of contemplation and self-sustainability a garden can provide.
Through handmade objects, found materials, photography, and drawing, she is constructing “an area of reflection shaped by herconversations, experiences and travels in South Korea, China, and the U.S”.Photographs included in this exhibition“depict mountainous ridges where major battles occurred, such as Heartbreak Ridge, stripped of all signs of life, where U.S., French, North Korean, and Chinese casualties numbered high.”
“Echoes of division and the spaces between, run through the show both conceptually and formally”, such as Deep waters (Pacific), a large collage depicting the Pacific Ocean,created entirely from Korean newspapers torn by hand. MountainMountain comprises a large pile of sea-weathered rocks, construction rubble, bricksthat werecollected on the shores of Xiamen and divided by a triangular pane of glass. Informed by gardens in South Korea and China, a central element of the work can be found in the dark acrylic ponds, also a reference to “the major rivers and bodies of water integral to the Korean landscape, and it is similarly experienced in Xiamen which is a port city on the water.”Photographs of local landscapes taken by her are accompanied in this publication by two essays, one written by Korean art critic Lee Young-Wook, and the other by artist Sigurdur Gudmundsson, providing distinct aspects on the surfacing process informing the concept of her gardening.
Like her fragmented and assembled “ponds”, Sandra Lee’s gardensbreak, create, and reflect the view,finding a new cultural context and resistance against absence of cultural common sense. In the area of gardening, territories, the development of community and the freedom of individuals are not in opposition. In this wounded reality, gardening is an act of searching for the sustainable possibilities of spaces, independent and social. This re-enactment in her gardens reminds us of the in-between subjectives** who don’t relinquish their own rights to make conversations with others despite fear and anxiety.
Art Space Pool Curator Kim Jinjoo
* The quotations marked into “ ” in this text are excerpted from the artist’s essay dated by May, 2011. As well, many other parts of this text are indebted to it.
** The concept of the in-between subjectives on Karatani Kojin’s idea of subjective and others is derived by a Korean literature critic Lee Myoung-Won. It is a signifier of a new subjective where others neither belong to the otherness nor a unified generality and cannot give up communication despite devastated lives and isolation. Lee Myoung-Won, Turning to the in-between subjectives – On forming new subjectives, subjects, and others, Munhwagwahak vol. 61, Munhwagwahaksa (Cultual Science Publishing), 2010.
*An accompanied publication
Sandra Eula Lee : Two waters
Published by Forum A(art space pool publications, publisher: Heejin Kim)
Published dated June 23, 2011
17x25cm, 24 pages, partial color. Limited edition of 500
Language in Korean, English
Photographed and Written by Sandra Eula Lee
Written by Art Space Pool Curator Kim Jinjoo, Lee Young-Wook , Sigurdur Gudmundsson
Translated by Kwon Jin(Lee Young-Wook: English), Kim Jinjoo(Korean)
Designed by Cho Jieun
Printed by 3P, Seoul
* Artist's talk and other public programs will be announced through
Sandra Eula Lee is a Korean-American artist, born in NJ and based in New York. She is the recipient of an Asian Cultural Council Fellowship, an Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Fellowship, a Dodge Foundation Fellowship, and a Manhattan Community Art Fund Grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including venues in New York, Boston, Miami, Seoul, Berlin, Milan, Rome, Mumbai, and recently in Xiamen, China. Residencies include the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, NY; Chinese-European Art Center (CEAC), Xiamen, China; Nanji Studio, Seoul Museum of Art; IASK Goyang, National Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea, Ajlira Center for Contemporary Art, NJ; and Vermont Studio Center.  Her work has been written about in The New York Times, Time Out New York (Critic’s Pick), Artnet Magazine, The Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, Wolgan Misul, Korea Times, World Journal, and (Rotterdam-based), among many others.  Lee has taught and lectured at institutions including Hunter College, NY; Xiamen University Art College; and Ewha University.
The Arist's website
Sandra Eula Lee, Floating Pavilion , 2010, Exhibition view, Chinese-European Art Center, Xiamen, China ⓒ Sandra Eula Lee
Sandra Eula Lee, Seeds in a wild garden , 2009, Detail. Materials collected from local construction sites in Goyang, South Korea, paints in colors of neighborhood gardens. Dimension variable. ⓒ Sandra Eula Lee
Sandra Eula Lee, Two waters , 2009, Exhibition view at CEAC, Xiamen, China. ⓒ Sandra Eula Lee
Sandra Eula Lee, MountainMountain , 2010, Sea-weathered construction rubble, glass pane, spray paint, acrylic sheets, paint. Dimension variable. ⓒ Sandra Eula Lee
Sandra Eula Lee, Ridge , 2010, Detail. Photograph mounted on wood panel, spray paint. 45x30cm. ⓒ Sandra Eula Lee
Sandra Eula Lee, View from Busosan , 2010, Detail. Photographs mounted on wood panel, paint. 45x61cm. ⓒ Sandra Eula Lee
Sandra Eula Lee, Two waters , 2009, Exhibition view at CEAC, Xiamen, China. ⓒ Sandra Eula Lee
Sandra Eula Lee, Deep waters (Pacific) , 2010, Torn Korean newspapers, acetate, a wooden panel. 98x108cm. ⓒ Sandra Eula Lee
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The website production was made possible by the patronage of Haegue Yang.