The Korea Herald


Installation artist Lee Seul-gi wins Korea Artist Prize 2020

By Park Yuna

Published : March 27, 2021 - 16:01

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Lee Seul-gi(Lee Seul-gi) Lee Seul-gi(Lee Seul-gi)
Installation artist Lee Seul-gi has won the Korea Artist Prize 2020, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea announced Thursday.

Inspired by traditional craft and folk art, Lee is known for her exploration of the relationship between humans and nature transcending boundaries. For her new work “Dong Dong Dari Gori” on show at the Korea Artist Prize 2020 exhibition at MMCA Seoul, she collaborated with master artisans such as Korean quilters in Tongyeong, South Gyeongsang Province, and traditional basket weavers in Mexico to create her interpretation of traditional Korean windows.

Lee is currently based in France, having moved to the country in the early 1990s. She has shown interest in exploring the fundamental relationship between humans and nature transcending cultural boundaries

“The title Dong Dong Dari Gori simply provides a certain sound, rhythm and movement like an incantation or the fanfare opening an event. Some of the motifs invoke Korean traditional culture such as patterns of wooden frames, designs representing dancheong, decorative coloring on wooden buildings and artifacts,” Kim Sung-won, an art critic and professor at Seoul National University of Science and Technology, wrote on Lee’s works. 

Installation view of “Dong Dong Dari Gori” by Lee Seul-gi (MMCA) Installation view of “Dong Dong Dari Gori” by Lee Seul-gi (MMCA)
Some of Lee’s works -- such as the glass containers holding water from rivers around the world sent by the artist’s friends frustrated at being unable to meet due to the pandemic -- that hang in the exhibition hall express the artist’s witty sensibility.

The MMCA and co-organizer SBS Culture Foundation have awarded the Korea Artist Prize since 2012 in an effort to promote talented Korean artists and help them expand their artistic activities at home and abroad.

Three artists – Kim Min-ae, Chung Hee-sung and Jung Yoon-suk – were also on the short list for the award. “Korea Artist Prize 2020,” an exhibition featuring works by the four artists, which opened at MMCA Seoul on Dec. 4, will run through April 4.

Lee’s discussion of her new works can be seen at the MMCA’s YouTube channel. 

By Park Yuna (