Hyun Mi Lee attended the Sydney College of Arts ( University of Sydney) where she honed her skills in the various methods of printmaking.  Lee employs the traditionally Korean techniques in combination with the contemporary stylistic practice of installation in order to produce an amalgam of old and new; East´ and ´West´.  Lee chooses to do this, not to represent conventional stereotypes, but rather to express her ´biculturality´.  This is the theme most central to her work. – by Phil O´Toole

Forest 1, 1994, silkscreen on paper, sound, installation view

Forest series

In the Forest Series, I’ve been working on the question of whether culture and nature can co-exist within this modern society. Koreans always like to say that they have a harmonious relationship with nature and you can see the evidence of that from centuries of artwork but what’s happening in contemporary Korean society is not like that at all. The tiger, a symbol of Korea, has disappeared a long time ago. 

Forest – In this work the empty bookshelves represent the loss of Korea’s culture and environment. Hovering above the empty spaces are the ghosts of animals forced to yield to this ‘progress’ as consumerable products.


installation view details

Banquet 1996, silk screen on paper, installtion view


Tigers disappeared from the Korean peninsula many years ago due to destruction of natural habitat and uncontrolled killings for the purpose of agricultural and medicinal ground. Koreans believe that tigers are an aphrodisiac.  Koreans think of the tiger as a symbol of our country but there are no wild living tigers. The irony – we like to idealise that tigers represent our national spirit but in fact they are destroyed for the purpose of greed. That is what my recent work ‘Banquet’ is about.