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Briefly Gorgeous

2021.11.17 – 12.31
Kang Seung Lee

Featuring: Beatriz Cortez, Clifford Prince King, Dean Sameshima, fierce pussy, Haneyl Choi, Homie Garden, Lucas Michael, Patricia Fernandez, Shawn McQuate, Tseng Kwong Chi, and Smallstudiosemi

Playlists by: Dew Kim, Jungle, Lee Jungsik, Minihan, Young-jun Tak, Jaeseok Kim, Haneyl Choi, and

Gallery Hyundai proudly presents the Kang Seung Lee solo exhibition Briefly Gorgeous* from November 17 to December 31, 2021. (*The exhibition title is taken from the autobiographical novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, a queer author who is one of the most noted young poets in the U.S. today.)

Kang Seung Lee is a multidisciplinary artist who was born in Seoul and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. As an artist, Kang Seung Lee has challenged the mainstream historical narrative and its focus on a First World white male heterosexual narrative, creating artwork that visualizes minorities who are forgotten or excluded in that narrative. While producing his work, Lee has been a historian of sorts, tenaciously scouring public and private archives such as art and craft collections, art college libraries, and the collections of LGBTQ groups. In his exploration process, he has rediscovered documents about historical events such as the AIDS crisis and LA riots, as well as artists from the previous generation like Robert Mapplethorpe, David Wojnarowicz, Peter Hujar, Martin Wong, and Derek Jarman, and gay rights activists like Joon-soo Oh. From a contemporary perspective, he pays homage while recontextualizing their achievements and their legacy to the world in cultural, artistic, and political terms.

Artwork and archival materials that relate to particular people and events are “translated” and appropriated into different media such as graphite drawings, gold thread embroidery on Sambe, ceramics, and neon. Working predominantly in a tactile, labor-intensive graphite drawing medium that is completed through efforts by the artist’s hand (body) over time and a ritualistic gold thread and Sambe embroidery approach that expresses feelings of mourning and respect, he proposes new ways of rewriting histories that have been concealed or expunged. He also invites fellow artists of different ethnicities, sexual orientations, and backgrounds to collaborate on his work, contributing to the creation of different queer community narratives as they actively take part in co-writing an alternative discourse. In that sense, Lee’s creation process and its results hold special meaning as part of a curatorial practice reflecting ideal values of participation, education, and sharing.

Briefly Gorgeous, Kang Seung Lee’s first solo exhibition at Gallery Hyundai, focuses on people and stories from queer communities in different generations, regions, and eras, which he interconnects in a single setting, guiding the viewer into an intellectual dialogue with them across space and time. The exhibtion includes about 40 new works in a diverse mixture of media that include graphite drawings and gold thread embroidery—allusions to life and death and the finitude, frailty, tenacity and ephemerality of the body—as well as paintings on transformed canvases, ceramics, garment, artist books, film footage, and Polaroid images. Most crucially, Lee attempts a queering of Gallery Hyundai, spanning everything from the large exterior banner to the inner nooks and crannies of an institution with a history dating back over a half-century. The gallery is cleverly and flexibly transformed into a space incorporating the memories, experiences, and narratives of queer communities and the many people who have been part of their experience over time—including a queer museum and library/archive, an unknown garden where dry flowers and grass grow, and a dance club.

Kang Seung Lee explains, “I have tried to connect the past, present, and future of queer communities through a language of visual arts. Imagining and suggesting a new Queer Future begins with reflecting on the past and perceiving the present from a new point of view by creating histories and narratives that have been marginalized. Through this process, I believe that it is important to make attempts to interconnect different generations, places, and times.” This is an occasion for gathering here and now to dance together and imagine a new ‘queer future’ . . . if only for a moment.

Gallery Hyundai
14 Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
+82 2 2287 3500