12 Jun 2018 — 7 Jul 2018

 Dongi Lee's page
Dongi Lee

LEE Dongi holds his personal exhibition at Gallery2 located in Pyeongchang-dong from June 12, 2018 to July 7, 2018. In this exhibition, LEE displays his approach toward art through words, rather than images, by collecting and rearranging words surrounding the modern day life.
“Take a newspaper. Take a pair of scissors. Choose an article as long as you are planning to make your poem. Cut out the article. The cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them in a bag. Shake it gently. Then take out the scraps one after the other in the order in which they left the bag. Copy conscientiously. The poem will be like you. And here are you a writer, infinitely original and endowed with a sensibility that is charming though beyond the understanding of the vulgar.“ - , Tristan Tzara.
A Dadaist poem is so meaningful and expressive. It is not easy to align words in an illogical order. Each word has its unique meaning, and each usage is determined upon a grammatical necessity, where words does not normally respond to a coincidental and abstract mechanism such like an image. That is why an ungrammatical array of words amplifies the randomness. A Dadaist Poem, which one can “Read” yet cannot “Understand” visualizes the beauty of randomness stronger than an image.
LEE‘s exhibition displays a new set of pieces created since 2017. Numbers of words are scattered on the canvas. The majority of words are from his own hand writing, and several others are from hand writings of others or from a computer font. The words are a mixture of intentionally selected words or random words abstracted from fine prints or from the internet. And, obviously, each words do not have any relation with each other. No efforts in planning how the piece will be completed, or intending any formation within the piece were made, and only the non-linear scattering of words, and the chaos created from such randomness dominates the entirety of each piece. One should imagine that the unconsciousness of the painter or an external force is responsible for the result. This mysterious helper construes a part of the ego, and finally reveals itself when consciousness loses control.
There would be no room for debate, if LEE‘s pieces were made under a purely unconscious state. On the contrary, each of his piece has an intention of a specific message, and the specific meaning of words. This is key. A combination of words with a specific intent, or consciousness focuses on the meaning and concept of language. Each of his piece does not construe a complete ‘Object’, but rather functions as a medium to relay a specific message. This is the strategic approach of conceptual art. Conceptual artists believes that the concept of art (message) works even in the absence of a physical form of art. Accordingly, with its genuine symbolism, and mediality, language is a key component of conceptual art.
In the perspective of not planning any formation of the piece, LEE‘s word pictures revealed in this exhibition is connected with his previous abstract series. The random display created from a simply spray, or the irregular form presented by the physical force of paint can not be controlled by the intention or decision of the artist. Furthermore, the collision of random words within the screen meets with the eclecticism series. The non-reasonable and random effect created by combining image blankets LEE‘s work. Word pictures are a conversion from images in an eclecticism series to words.
When an artist adopts a new style, it is obvious that the artist wants to make a ‘different’ voice. When words are employed in a picture, the artist becomes a ‘Speaker’. An image has an inseperable relation with the actual object. A viewer determines his/her comprehension of an art piece once he/she recognizes the resemblance of an image to the actual object. However, language (words) do not end by simply reading the prose itself, while once the reader reminisce the meaning and understand the context of the prose, then the reader can comprehend the art piece. Moreover, an image does not have a sequence or rule on its array, allowing one to accept the image in any shape or form, while language, with all of the grammar and syntax, does not allow such chaotic randomness. In LEE‘s art, the collision of different elements, the chaos between consciousness and unconsciousness, and the tension between reason and non-reason is amplified through words. His art is not for the viewers comfort.
In every new series, LEE pursues forming techniques totally different from his previous series. Each and every series construe independent pieces with no revolution nor regression between each other. Unsurprisingly so, his pieces create chaos and is full of contradictions. The artists himself, brings upon chaos and misunderstandings. All of this criticism is self-own. Purposely refusing consistency in formation implies the ethical standpoint of the artist. His pieces may have been asking us ‘Who is responsible to create an image?’ or ‘Is an artist the omnipotence creator to create an image?’ from the beginning, who knows. The coexistence of trust and distrust of art, randomness and inevitability, rational and irrational may be the mean to remove any underlying bias in art. It‘s nothing to be discouraged for, or be surprised with.
Dragon, acrylic on canvas, 170 x 140 cm, 2017 (DL.17-027-682)