Wonwoo Lee speaks with a playful voice of humour. Making works that are satirical comments on modern human life, his humour enables viewers to see every day objects and phenomena with a new perspective. To create these effects, Lee incorporates an element of the theatrical, and desires to change the role of audiences into performers themselves. His works therefore invite a lighthearted public involvement.
Work such as Fatcoke, for example, takes the iconic Coca Cola can, and engorges it into an almost spherical shape. Inserting comments about health risks and modern obesity, as well as consumer commodities, the piece is particularly engaging. These effects were enforced when Lee turned the sculpture into a performance piece by opening the can, drinking from it, and then leaving the remaining liquid to spill from the lulling, swollen vessel.
Lee also turns his playful perspective back onto the art world with pieces such as Gates of the World, which see steel bars sculpted into lettering and fixed into a gate. Intending to mimic a prison gate that physically restricts or limits us, the piece proposes that the depicted phrases limit our thinking. Phrases such as ‘Sick of looking at things’ and ‘Really don’t have anything to say’ seem to satirize a bored onlooker and the common gallery visitor. Lee’s work therefore combines the humour that can be found in reality, with an imaginative fiction, to create works that engage viewers with their fresh insight.
Wonwoo Lee holds a BA from the Hong-ik University, Seoul, and an MA from the Royal College of Art, London, and is currently a member of the Joketta Project. His first solo exhibition was hosted by Gallery Loop, Seoul, in 2012, and his group exhibitions include ‘Fusing Word’ at the Hoxton Arches Gallery, London, ‘Muse London Seoul’ at the Sonje Art Center, Seoul, and ‘When I spoke its name, it came to me and became a flower’, Paris, all 2012.