Between fact and fiction

Island (2008), by Jae Hoon Lee. Photo: Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Island (2008), by Jae Hoon Lee. Photo: Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery
A self-proclaimed ‘‘cultural wanderer’’, Jae Hoon Lee’s  practice celebrates and documents his path through the world, writes Lauren Gutsell.

Jae Hoon Lee's nomadic lifestyle, which has seen him live and travel through many countries, including Korea, America, Switzerland and New Zealand (he immigrated in 1998), allows Lee to explore different environments and collect source material.

It is this process of collecting that ultimately defines and informs his practice, as the documentation of the various landscapes and sites is fed into his videos and photographs.

Known for their highly-polished and hyper-real aesthetic, many of Lee's photographs do not present a literal landscape that can be found in the environment. Rather, they are a composite - images of real locations brought together, multiplied and manipulated to make one cohesive whole.

Island (2008), which was purchased by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery in 2017, is an example of this composite imagery. Every inch of rocky terrain, section of sporadic grass or cloud formation is digitally constructed from a much larger suite of images.

This mode of production anchors the work in a space between fact and fiction - the individual components that make up Island exist in the world, but the form as it is presented to us by Lee cannot be located within our reality.

-Lauren Gutsell is assistant curator at Dunedin Public Art Gallery


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