The fantastic imagination of JeeYoung Lee

Exploring notions of identity, Korean artist JeeYoung Lee creates surreal, fantastical dreamscapes and photographs herself within them.

“The images I create come from my personal stories; I analyse the story over and over again in the process of building the set,” Lee says. “I want my audience to take a conceptual approach and take the time to self-reflect.”

During this year’s OzAsia Festival, a series of photographic works by Lee, as well as an immersive installation inspired by the Australian landscape, will be on display at the Adelaide Festival Centre. These works explore the idea that we might be different in terms of culture and where we live, but we often have similar experiences and emotions.

Monsoon Season, JeeYoung Lee
Monsoon Season, JeeYoung Lee

“I want the audience to empathise with the photos and get in touch with common emotions we experience,” Lee says. “My goal is to transcend cultural limitations and language barriers, reaching out to people’s hearts.

Lee’s photographs are personal, allowing her the opportunity to self-analyse. “My scenescapes are inspired by various relationships and circumstances, experiences and memories, as well as emotions such as heartbreak, anxiety, hope and frustration,” she says. “They also reflect the challenges I have experienced as an artist and my effort to overcome them.”

While the work focuses on her life, Lee uses metaphors so she doesn’t limit the audience’s interpretation, allowing the viewer to apply their own life experience to the works.

JeeYoung Lee
JeeYoung Lee

“I hope the audiences discover a story of their own. I want my photos to trigger emotions and memories that have been tucked away in a dark place,” she says.

Lee’s work also reflects what life is like for a female artist living in a conservative country such as South Korea.

“I believe the toils of living here as a woman, and the social pressure to overachieve or be left behind, is reflected in my work,” she explains. “Living here as an artist presents unique challenges, and I feel this is also an important subject in my photographs.”

JeeYoung Lee
Festival Theatre Foyer, Gallery 3
Wednesday, October 24 to Friday, November 30

Main image:
Resurrection, JeeYoung Lee

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