Keunmin Lee
Refining Hallucinations , 2014
Oil on Canvas
95 x 400 in. (240 x 1016 cm)

Solidifying in the Frame


Shin Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Keunmin Lee's solo exhibition. This will be Keunmin’s first solo show in the United States. The exhibition will be on view at Shin Gallery from September 7 through November 30, 2014, with an opening reception beginning at 7:00 p.m. on September 7.
Keunmin Lee has several complex aims in this latest body of work for Solidifying in the Frame—a series of charcoal and pencil compositions that depict hallucinatory figures. These sketches present organic beings that are gruesome wrecks of tangled flesh and tissue, creatures Keunmin encounters in the hallucinations brought on by his illness. In this work, the apparitions that plague him are checked by being given a (kind of) material form. Essentially, they become more real by being depicted in the world contained within his picture frames.
Keunmin's entire practice, and these drawings, are acts of self-preservation. He addresses his psychic distress by mark making: the process of representing these hideous fantasies on paper and charcoal restrains them. In these images they are articulated by being given form, and being articulated are limited, and being limited might be controlled.
However, these beings are not clearly depicted: sometimes the contours and shading only suggest what they might be. In Keunmin's vision and in the exhibition, they linger on the border of legibility, glimpsed, only partially understood. The artist recognizes that as fleshly beings we are vulnerable to suffering simply for how our bodies are made. However, the sources of our trouble are not always clear, not always identifiable: they could be genetic, might be psychological, or sometimes imagined.
More, these drawings are works seeking kinship. Keunmin claims that pain and suffering are the most universal elements in the lives of humans, and in representing his own nightmares he shares a common experience with his viewers.
Ultimately, Keunmin Lee produces this work out of a desire to confront his demons and overcome them, so these drawings mean to engage our eyes and psyches, take us with the artist through fear and distress by looking at his monsters and perhaps seeing our own. These images take us further until we realize we have shared his visions but not fallen in. Keunmin uses his unique vision as a persuasion and a palliative: In Solidifying in the Frame we see phantasms take shape in line and shading and find assurance in this articulated imagined.