Visiting Artists: Mnemosyne Initiative with Eunsook Lee

Mnemosyne – Traversing Boundaries on Meandering Routes of Memory

My Childhood Elementary School Alumni

As social media gets popular and childhood memories increasingly come to mind, one thousand elementary school alumni from the 1960’s gathered and reunited. Having grown up in what was once the poorest country but is now the South Korea of today, my generation and I were there as a part of history. As a result, for the Mnemosyne Project I worked on a photo from an elementary school graduation album.

My work began with textile arts, but has expanded to installations that incorporate diverse media such as fiber, polyester resin, and black lighting. While preparing for my first exhibit in 1986, I sustained extensive skin burns on my face and body from an explosion of hot paraffin I was using at the time. Despite the tortuous rehabilitation, I could not stop creating my art and representations of the life force. Thin fluorescent threads pass through every corner of my artwork like my blood vessels. My longing for human connection led me to create the installation work Vanished Berlin Wall in 2007 at the Brandenburg Gate – a symbol of German reunification. This installation was realized and inspired through my artistic desire and direction. As an artist who has stepbrothers and sisters in North Korea, I sent a message of peaceful reunification with light to the world. Through my works dealing with unwanted separation, division by ideology, and the life and death of families that live on the other side of the Korean Peninsula, people have shed tears and continue to ponder the meaning of family and nation.

Eunsook Lee

1983, M.F.A. Hongik University Graduate School of Industrial Art
1979, B.F.A., fabric art, Ewha Womans University

Solo Exhibitions
2021, Noctilucent Thread Healing, Topohaus, Seoul
2020, City of Light, Starfield Library, Seoul
2019, Pandora’s Box, Georgetown Glow, Washington D.C.
2018, Light Falls, ArtHouse, Bremen
2017, Regether, Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Berlin, Germany
2016, Pillar of Seoul, Seoul City Hall Sky Square Gallery, Seoul
2016, Light and Thread, Blume Museum of Contemporary Art, Paju, Rep. of Korea
2016, Wall of Communication, Cheonan-Asan Station, Asan, Rep. of Korea
2016, Dispersed Family, Target Gallery, Alexandria, VA

Group Exhibitions
2019, Cheongju Craft Biennale
2018, Tunnel of Communication, Yeulmaru Art Center, Yeosu, Rep. of Korea
2017, Border 155, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul
2017, Duet Show, Wallace Gallery, Old Westbury, Long Island, NY
2017, Bound as One, Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Washington D.C.
2017, Chair Pillar, Suwon I’Park Museum of Art, Suwon
2016, Bound, Art Mora, Chelsea, NY
2016, Brick Layers, Washington Sculptors Group, Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, VA

City of Light, Starfield Library, COEX, Seoul, Korea