Seoul-based artist Jee Young Lee devotes weeks and months to building incredibly elaborate scenes by hand for the sake of taking a single photograph—all without the use of digital manipulation. Confined to the small space of her 360 x 410 x 240 cm studio, she painstakingly constructs every last detail of the set, from painted backgrounds to handmade props to objects suspended from the ceiling. The results are surreal, dreamlike images made all the more extraordinary by knowledge of how much grueling labor and patience went into creating each scene.
At the focal point of nearly every photo is the artist herself, her gaze never quite meeting the viewer's directly. Inspired by Korean fables or personal experiences, these imaginative self-portraits explore "her quest for an identity, her desires and her frame of mind," according to OPIOM Gallery. "Her creations act as a catharsis which allows her to accept social repression and frustrations. The moment required to set the stage gives her time to meditate about the causes of her interior conflicts and hence exorcise them; once experienced, they in turn become portents of hope."
Lee, whose work we first shared in 2013, unveiled two new images—LoveSeek and The Moment—in 2014, included here with a selection of works never before seen on My Modern Met.