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.

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

2020
Into The Open, New Zealand Festival of the Arts, Wellington
Digital 3 - Retro Ed., Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga
MotherMother, Lot23, Auckland

2016
CIRCUIT Market Screening, International Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Germany

2014
Lucid Dream (solo), Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland

2013
The Fantastic World of Hye Rim Lee (solo), The PAH Homestead, Auckland
Animation Revelation (solo), Sir Paul Reeves Building, Auckland, New Zealand

2011
Crystal City Spun (solo), Starkwhite, Auckland

2010
Crystal City (solo), Candyland, Berengo Akatsu Collection, Tokyo, Japan
Crystal City (solo), Candyland, Art Edition, Kukje Gallery, Korea
Crystal City (solo), Venice Project, Italy