"As a person falls asleep, or is dying, artist Mire Lee sees a sculpture emerge. “People are like ‘meat’ in that state. I find that endearing, potentially sad, but also intriguing because only the physical presence remains.”
Her installations are never silent or immobile. Mire Lee, who lives and works in Seoul and Amsterdam, uses sound and motion to suggest living material. In Kunstmuseum Den Haag’s Project Gallery she will depict the state of a human being gradually departing this life. Yet the movement never stops. In As We Lay Dying Lee evokes a state that apparently persists for all eternity.
Lee explores in her sculptures and installations how she can use her material to depict states articulating what it is to be human. Her basic materials are clay, latex, silicon, liquids and tubes. Using her hands, mechanics and pumping systems, she creates shapes and movements that evoke associations with trance-like states, near-death, and also erotic and sadomasochistic scenes.
Lee believes that clay has the unique quality of feeling like a living thing that needs to be tended carefully, and requires exactly the right amount of moisture or dryness to be shaped into a certain form. The material requires constant attention and is very vulnerable, so that to Lee it symbolises human relationships. Exhaustion is the main theme Lee is seeking to represent in the installation she has designed for Kunstmuseum Den Haag’s Project Gallery. It was inspired by the shape of the space, which to her resembles a coffin.
Mire Lee (b. 1988) lives and works in both Seoul and Amsterdam. She graduated from Seoul National University in 2012 and in 2018/2019 took part in the artist in residence programme at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Mire Lee shows her work around the world. She is currently exhibiting in several locations, including the Venice Biennale and Frankfurt.
Stokroos Ceramics Stipend
Mire Lee is the second winner of the Stokroos Ceramics Stipend, awarded each year to support a young or mid-career artist or designer and enable them to make new work. For Mire Lee, this means among other things that she will be able to spend some time working at the Europees Keramisch Werkcentrum (European Ceramic Workcentre, EKWC /Sunday Morning). Until recently she worked mainly with non-ceramic media, but ceramics have now become a key component of her installations.
Since 2019 Kunstmuseum Den Haag has shown work by the winner of the annual ceramics stipend, in collaboration with the Stokroos Foundation. The jury awarded the first stipend to designer Bas van Beek, with whom Kunstmuseum Den Haag created an exhibition in 2021.