No Boundaries: Taedong Lee

Press release
Cuturi Gallery is delighted to present No Boundaries, a solo show by Taedong Lee (b. 1989, South Korea). This marks Lee’s first solo exhibition in Southeast Asia. In this new series of works, Lee portrays the recollections and emotions he experienced towards the landscapes he saw in Singapore during his residency. With the use of impasto and thin layers of paint, as well as expressive colours, Lee morphs traditional scenes of nature into distorted visuals of natural landscapes.
Lee’s love for art started at the bright young age of 6 when his grandmother praised him for his drawings. Soon after discovering the works of Pablo Picasso, he started pursuing his career as an artist. He spent his youth studying painting in London, where he developed and experimented his approach.
Documentation is an essential part of his practice as it serves as the foundation for all his works. Lee often begins by drawing on his memory in relation to the places he has been, referencing physical environments while reflecting on the emotions attached to these lived experiences. He refers to it as, “an archive of memories and emotions”. Going beyond a simplistic transference of what has been witnessed, memories are accentuated on the canvas. Elements are used to create a personal narrative rather than just pure documentary.
Consolidating the past and present, Lee’s experiences can be jumbled, reformed, and retrieved simultaneously in his works. He calls it "a storehouse of memories and emotions." The painted scene is eventually recreated into a "phantom realm" with a distinct emotional reality that contrasts with linear or more somber periods.
Inspired by the modernized landscape of Singapore, where nature and architecture coexist, A Cynical Building (2022) is reminiscent of Lee's memories during his time here. Depictions of vehicles and buildings within spaces of lush greenery are a portrayal of his recollections of the places he has been. The contrast between soft and harsh can be seen throughout his body of work. Lee’s semi-abstract compositions fluidly incorporate realism and figuration with imaginary landscapes.
Influences of Impressionism are apparent as seen in Orange Leaves (2022). Bearing resemblance to the works of Scottish painter, Peter Doig - one of Lee’s references, this painting was inspired by his visit to MacRitchie Reservoir. Feeling small in the extravagance of nature, Lee stood in awe of what surrounded him. Tall trees mounted over him while gusts of strong winds and the sounds of birds chirping graced his ears. He felt an overwhelming sense of fear of the unknown yet serenity in the calmness of nature.
“I gradually found stability and felt awe, sublime, and sacredness about this nature. I wanted to transfer these mixed emotions to the canvas.”
Lee's artistic practice has been defined as memory-based, referencing physical settings while addressing emotions related to these lived occurrences. Through these paintings, Lee expresses his sentiments toward the coexistence of nature and the humans he observed.
Taedong Lee obtained his Master’s in Fine Arts at Camberwell College of Arts, London in 2020 and his Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Gachon University College of Arts, Korea in 2016. Lee’s works have been exhibited in various galleries such as Bowes-Parris Gallery and Saatchi Gallery in London and Gallery Lang in Seoul.
No Boundaries will be on view at Cuturi Gallery from 27 October till 8 November 2022.
Installation Views