Tina Kim Gallery Basel Statements 2022: Mire Lee, Endless House: Harlequin Baby (2022)
Booth Number: M3
Endless House: Harlequin Baby, (2022)
Medium: Fired clay, silicone, glycerine, glaze, peristaltic pump and other mixed media
Metal plinth: 26 x 120 x 380 cm
Sculpture appx. 60 x 80 x 200 cm
Draping over the top of the booth, a steel scaffold supports a hanging form, suspended above a metal tank. Flesh-colored fluid drips among the porous, bone-like objects, which string together loosely, creating a partially enclosed space. The liquid is ceramic glaze, the skeletal forms are bisque-fired ceramic, with PVC tubes and metal cables contorting outward from their surfaces - one surface readily accepts the glaze, the others repel it, dripping downward into the metal tank below. Womb-like, vestigial, Endless House: Harlequin Baby (2022) offers a multitude of these proximate but liminal comparisons, partial without end as it continues to spew glaze throughout the course of the fair, suspended from the rafters of the booth which become part of the work itself.
Endless House: Harlequin Baby‘s approach to sculpture is both time and site-specific. The ceramic components of the work will continuously absorb the ever-drying glaze throughout its “life” Basel, a sediment that begins at the commencement of the fair and continues into an uncertain future. The work is interspersed with soft forms, molded as negative space from the ceramic components, as well as harsh metal cables that drape throughout. In its accumulative ceramic composition, Lee’s installation shares kinship to her work Endless House: Holes and Drips (2022) on view at La Biennale di Venezia, however Endless House: Harlequin Baby’s qualities are closer to figuration than the spread landscape of the concurrent work - the Basel-based installation’s form is left stark against the white walls of the booth. As a single, broken form with nowhere to hide, the work concentrates the intense affective sensibility in which Lee’s practice thrives, even as it offers a focused reflection on her conceptual influences.
Endless House: Harlequin Baby continues Lee’s ongoing engagement with Endless House (1947-1960), the utopian architectural project and thought experiment by Fredrich Kiesler, who sought an architecture that would transform life itself. He arranged his project in order to offer a living organism for human habitation, an open organic form that offers a flow between states, often best realized in drawings rather than architectural models, which fail to realize the living fluidity of Kiesler’s vision. Taking up where the promises of utopian architecture failed, Lee’s work instead also reflects a distinctive fragmentation of its quasi-organic forms, creating a womb-like composition that also alludes to her ongoing interest in the fetish culture of vore, or vorarephilia, in which one desires to consume the object of their affection. Vore contains an equally utopic wish for oneness that transgresses across boundaries between living and dead, disgust and pleasure, self and other, as necessarily impossible as Kiesler’s vision.
Tina Kim Gallery is proud to present Lee’s work at Art Basel, in the midst of her exceptional exhibition calendar in Europe, with her inclusion in the 59th International Art Exhibition, The Milk of Dreams at La Biennale di Venezia, and her solo exhibition, Look, I'm a fountain of filth raving mad with love, at the MMK Frankfurt, as the recipient of the PONTOPREIS MMK 2022. In presenting Endless House: Harlequin Baby, Lee’s singular vision can be held, just for a moment, by the fair’s public, before continuing its growth to forms unknown, a deeply affecting monument to both Lee’s meteoric rise and gravitational practice.
The work is offered as presented here at Art Basel 2022. Peristaltic pump, scaffold, and tank are not part of the work, and will need to be replaced as the work continues to circulate.