Artist JeeYoung Lee creates her surreal worlds in her tiny 3 meter x 6 meter studio in Seoul. She documents her dreams and emotions, and then recreates them by building thematic sets and then photographs herself in them. She was the recipient of the Sovereign Arts Prize in 2012 and she opened her first European exhibition at [Opiom Gallery](https://www.opiomgallery.com/fr/artistes/oeuvresphotographe/17/jeeyoung-lee) in Opio, France, last February.
It is made of over 2,000 paper cups that were stacked together as bricks of a fragile castle, which represents the human need for betterment. Lee explains: “I wanted to express the process of heading toward your desire, along with the effort it takes to achieve your dream, which is represented by the star.”
The magical nocturnal landscape is made from craft wire for the grass. The artist says it was inspired by her childhood memories of her grandparents’ farm in the countryside, where at night she would see fireflies light up.”To me they looked like they were on a treasure hunt,” she explains, “and I used that as a metaphor to show that finding your ideal is as difficult as searching for a needle in a grassy field.”
“I wanted to show my personal experience of being born again by overcoming negative elements that had dragged me down, and cleansing myself emotionally.”
“I was confused, scared and at a loss, and I used optical illusion to express my emotional state”, says Lee. She calculated the proportions and drew the whole set by hand.
Lee used paper clips for this image. They bear no threat in real life, but she wanted to highlight how small worries can compile into a burden we carry through life. The clips stick to the woman as she walks away just like troubles do.
”The clock is ticking toward midnight, evoking the soon-to-be broken spell from stories like Cinderella, but the girl wants to stay in her comfy, peaceful moment and familiar space. She is unaware that the night sky is cold out the window, and doesn’t have a clue about what is waiting for her out in the world.”
“For me large birds are threatening, and the image of their feathers, beak, and curved talons is frightful,” says Lee. The scene is fraught with turmoil, and the doors represent future changes and challenges that the artist will have to go through.
Here she depicts her difficulties in communicating with people.”I used yellow and black, as those colors are often seen on signs which warn of danger,” she says. The dog in the corner represents a person who was troubling her at the time.
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