Hye Rim Lee

Hye Rim Lee is a New York-based Korean-New Zealand artist.

Lee was born in Seoul, Korea. Lee graduated from Ewha Women’s University with a Bachelor of Music degree, majoring in Voice in 1985. Lee moved to New Zealand in 1993 and completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Intermedia at Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland in 2002. Currently she lives and works in New York.

Lee's 3D animations question new technology’s role in image making and representation. Since 2001 she has developed and evolved her animated character TOKI, as part of her ongoing TOKI/Cyborg Project. Her work is ambitious, expansive and conceptually and technically honed; each new project surpasses the previous genesis of TOKI.

Lee's photos and video installations tell a fantasy tale based on an intermingling of Eastern and Western popular culture and the study of new technologies and how they influence tradition.

The graphics used inevitably refer to the manga tradition, but are mixed with Western aesthetic ideals, thus giving life to transgender, transcultural characters who live in an imaginary world governed by testosterone. Through an exploration of videogame dynamics, intended for a male public, and a fascination with new technologies, the artist analyses aspects of popular culture, globalization and especially femininity in relation to the media. Through her numerous works she demonstrates that the exploitation of the female body is still very much a relevant question.

She has promised a continuation of her challenge to what she calls the “phallic motivations” of dominant cyber culture, computer gaming, contemporary myth and animamix in the engagement with high technology and popular culture.

Lee’s work has been exhibited widely in major solo and group exhibitions at: Kukje Gallery Seoul, Max Lang Gallery NY, Gallerie Volker Diehl Berlin, Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver, Starkwhite Auckland, MoCA Shanghai, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, Millennium Museum, Beijing, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, Today Art Museum Beijing, Fundacio Joan Miro Barcelona, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Wereld Museum, Rotterdam, Millesgarden Museum, Stockholm, San Jose Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Korea, Govett Brewster Art Gallery New Plymouth, Adam Art Gallery Wellington, numerous collateral exhibitions in the 54th Venice Biennale and the 53rd Venice Biennale, Incheon Womens Art Biennale, Animamix Biennale, The World Expo 2010 Shanghai, OFF LOOP ’06 Festival, Barcelona, and artfairs including Art Basel, FIAC, Frieze, Armory Show, Art Basel Miami, Art HK. She won the artist residency: Ssamzie Space Seoul and ISCP New York.

She has previously been awarded funding from Creative New Zealand, NZ Film Commission, Screen Innovation Production Fund New Zealand, Independent Filmmakers Fund New Zealand, and Asia New Zealand Foundation. Her works are part of major art collections including: Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Adam Art Gallery, Te Papa, The University of Auckland, Ernst&Young, Saatchi&Saatchi NZ, Hara Museum, National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea and major private collections worldwide.

TOKI Does New York (2008) is a 50 minute documentary about Hye Rim Lee. It was commissioned by TVNZ and premiered in 4 major cities in New Zealand as a part of DOCNZ.

Selected Exhibitions
2013 Animation Revelation, Sir Paul Reeves Building, Aut, Auckland
2011 Crystal City Spun, Starkwhite, Auckland

Crystal City, Candyland, Art Edition, Kukje Gallery, Busan, (Korea)
Crystal City, Venice Project, Venice, (Italy)