Lauren Jeyoon Lee was born in Maryland, USA and moved to South Korea when she as four. She spent most of her teenage years in Singapore and returned to USA to receive her education in Fine Arts. Lauren is currently a grad student from Yale University and is spending three weeks in Rimbun Dahan as an Open Residency artist. Lauren’s a sculptor who works with found objects and clay. Her working process heavily involves writing that are often reduced as titles to inform and create narratives for visual elements.
A pair of large plastic breasts labeled “Super Droopers.”
A two feet long rubber chew toy with orange bulbs on both ends.
A red SOLO cup full of half-thawed chicken feet.
A bag full of Joshua Nelson’s beard.
A petri dish with mice fetuses.
A burnt-out glue gun with strands of blonde hair around it.
Aqua beads soaked in black vinegar.
A picture of my five-year-old-self crying with chewing gum glued over my boobs. A plastic bag of flesh toned cosmetic sponges.
A bag of make-up sponges sold for $1.29. I opened it and took a sniff. It smelled like my mother’s pillow. My mother spent every Sunday night with me. She would leave my grandparents’ house the next morning for work. I always believed I could cling on to her. It never worked. My grandfather would wake me up instead in his bright blue sweatpants that smelled like his medicine cabinet. So I would bury my face in my mother’s pillowcase to smell her instead. My grandfather would then carry me to the living room and lay me down on a leather sofa. It felt cold even on summer days. That was my Monday morning until I grew tall enough to realize how childish it is to feel that empty.
I have been reliving my childhood since then. Hiding behind the weight of cultural and religious issues, I laughed at traditional values imposed on me and unresolved resentment the Korean War had left on my grandparents. When I moved to Singapore in sixth grade, I witnessed my mother’s loneliness as a woman away from her lover. When I came to America, I witnessed middle-aged adults, self-proclaimed children of God, be possessed with petty jealousy over the death of a family member. I now maliciously poke fun at the emotional conflicts and complex feelings adults engaged in, with different materials, from a glamorous piece of bronze to a cheap clump of fake hair.
So I started collecting. I collect cheap things that trigger feelings of shame; humiliation; regret; disgust; and sometimes humor. I frequent local dollar stores, beauty supplies, pet shops and sex shops to rummage through things. Some give me immediate answers and others have eldritch noise. I spend time with them. I wrestle with them. Most of them are willing to work with me at first. They would bend, squish, tear and bond themselves, as I demand. Soon they start to rebel. They straighten themselves up, separate from the others and refuse to be put back together. Like a frustrated, demented child, I angrily pierce, nail, shove and tighten them. Some give in, others refuse. They are awkwardly and precariously put together. I see myself in them, insignificant and small, yet screaming to validate my existence to someone.
During her stay in Rimbun Dahan, Lauren plans to create assemblages and drawings specific to this place, informed by the interactions with people, locals and expats that she’ll meet. Lauren will be with us throughout July 2018.