Press Release

Things Unstable reflects on the pioneering work of the Korean avant-garde artist Seung-taek Lee (b. 1932). Lee has gained his reputation from his groundbreaking multidisciplinary practice, which includes ephemeral performances, site-specific works, installations, photographic interventions, appropriated canvases, and sculptures. Throughout his prolific career, Lee has incorporated Korean shamanic traditions, folk objects, and materials to question the values of art and art history. Known for his relentless humor, Lee continues to push the boundaries by inciting vocabularies that subvert conventional ideas of art.



International exhibitions

International Archives 1st half of 2023

Seung-taek Lee, Things Unstable

Canal Projects, New York (United States)

03.02 - 22.05.2023




For this exhibition, Seung-taek Lee has drawn on the facade of the building at 351 Canal Street, New York. The drawing will be brought to life as an artistic intervention using red fabric evocative of his 1970s Wind performances to be revealed during the opening week. The hanging fabric will bring to bear the artist’s lifelong interest in site-specificity, ecology, and performance art.

Deploying natural elements such as fire, wind, earth, and water, Lee’s multimedia performances expanded the lexicon of the 1970s’ turn towards environmental aesthetics making him an early proponent of eco-art. Celebrating Seung-taek Lee’s long-standing preoccupation with the environment, Canal Projects will offer re-enactments of two of his most well-known works: Wind-Folk Amusement (1971) and Earth Performance (1989-1996). Documentation and reenactments of these performances will contextualize Lee’s practice amidst today’s most pressing ecological concerns while also drawing back to the global environmental movements of the 1970s.

Reenactments will be led by the collaborative duo, artists A young Yu and Nicholas Oh.

Seung-taek Lee (b. 1932) lives and works in Seoul. Lee has gained national and international recognition as a celebrated experimental artist. In the course of his prolific career, Lee has been an active member of several art organizations including the Korean Contemporary Sculpture Association (1969), the New Image Association (1962), and most prominently, the Korean Avant-Garde Association (1970). Seung-taek Lee has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Grand Prize at the 2nd Space Art Award Exhibition (1977), the DongA Arts Award (1978), the Nam June Paik Art Center International Art Award (2009), and the Korean Ministry of Culture’s Eunkwan Award (2014). Lee’s works are in several collections including Tate Modern, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (MMCA), Seoul Museum of Art, Rachofsky Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, and the Nam June Paik Art Center, Yongin.

Eglė Budvytytė: Songs from the compost: mutating bodies, imploding stars

Beginning Friday, February 3, Canal Projects’ lower level will screen Lithuanian artist Eglė Budvytytė’s Songs from the compost: mutating bodies, imploding stars (2020). Made in collaboration with Marija Olšauskaitė and Julija Lukas Steponaitytė, the video work offers an exploration of consciousness, human and non-human entanglements, symbiosis, decay, and renewal.

The film, shot in the pine forests and dunes of the Curonian Spit, features a cast comprised mostly of local youth. The work unfolds through a specially conceived song, choreography, and costumes. A hypnotic voice sings lyrics that draw on the writings of biologist Lynn Margulis and science-fiction author Octavia Butler. The choreography undoes the verticality of the human figure, unfurling it into the landscape so that the performers’ bodies are constantly pulled toward the earth and toward each other, moving through the forest, along the dunes, and the water.

Seung-taek Lee, The Earth Touring Beijing, 1994. Performance documentation, paint on C-print, 35.83 x 44.88 inches.Courtesy of Gallery Hyundai.

Seung-taek Lee, The Earth Touring Beijing, 1994. Performance documentation, paint on C-print, 35.83 x 44.88 inches.Courtesy of Gallery Hyundai.

Exhibition 03 February -22 May 2023. Canal Projects, 351 Canal St - New York, NY 10013 (United States). Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 12–6pm.






Seung-taek Lee, Things Unstable, Canal Projects, New York United States

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2023. All Rights Reserved