from now until 31 january, 2021, the manege central exhibition hall in st petersburg presents ‘lee bul: utopia saved’, the first ever major solo show featuring legendary korean artist lee bul to take place in russia. the exhibition focuses on the artist’s environmental installations, architectural sculptures, and drawings produced since 2005, while highlighting the influence that the russian avant-garde has had on her work. along with other pieces, large-scale works from the artist’s ‘willing to be vulnerable’ series, including the giant metalized balloon, have been reassembled especially for the show. all exhibition images © vasily bulanov, manege
for ‘utopia saved’ at the manege central exhibition hall, lee bul created a model of the space at a a scale of 1:50. this allowed her to meticulously plan the positioning of the exhibits and organise the show like a journey through a site-specific landscape, opening up unexpected conceptual and visual parallels. the exhibition gathers architectural sculptures, environmental installations, and drawings that artist has produced since 2005, while focusing on the creative visual dialogue between lee bul and the russian avant-garde.
with contributions by various russian museums and artistic institutions, ‘utopia saved’ opens up a new facet of contemporary art, in continuation of the centuries-old dialogue between the cultures of russia, europe, and asia. within the exhibition, bul’s pieces ‘converse’ with works by artists kazimir malevich, aleksandr rodchenko, aleksandra ekster, architects ivan leonidov and iakov chernikhov, scientist and thinker konstantin tsiolkovsky, and others.
‘lee bul’s longstanding fascination with utopia entered a new phase in the first decade of the 21st century, when she started creating architectural sculptures and drawings inspired by constructivism and russian avant-garde art and architecture,’ note exhibition curators sunjung kim and soojin lee. ‘the artist uses icons and tropes from utopian modernism, transforming, allegorising, and juxtaposing them in her own creative works. she engages with utopian modernism with empathy and originality, with critique and imagination. “utopia saved” is lee bul’s first solo exhibition to be held in russia, and for the first time presents her post-2005 works alongside the russian art that inspired them.’