Walking the Truth, Maelee Lee
Maelee Lee: Walking the Truth
Curator: Thalia Vrachopoulos
Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete
Opening: Thursday, June 11th 2015, 20:00
Kara Mousa Pasha Mosque,
Arkadiou & Hugo st., Rethymnon
Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete presented the solo exhibition Maelee Lee: Walking the Truth, curated by New York based Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos. The show runs from May 2- September 26th, 2015, with the opening reception on June 11th at 20:00 pm, at the Kara Mousa Pasha Mosque, Crete Museum of Art, Rethymnon.
About the solo exhibition Maelee Lee: Walking the Truth, Thalia Vrachopoulos writes:
Maelee Lee’s high heel pumps speak volumes, but her installations’ circumambulation pattern is notable as well. This meditative journey in the round that inspired Lee, is an integral part of Hinduism and Buddhism. This pariyahindana is usually circular as you are meant to walk around a dagoba or stupa and twirl the prayer wheels while doing so. This idea of circumambulating a holy center is also prevalent in Christianity and Judaism, while in the Islamic tradition one circumnavigates around the Q’abba. However, because Lee is from Korea it is most likely Son Buddhism that informs this body of work. This perambulation is called kinhin and in Korean Haengseon which is a walking technique focused on the present and practiced in between long sitting meditations. The practitioner holds a shashu mudra with one fist in his other hand, and breathes deeply after which he takes a step walking in as clockwise pattern around the room. This is a type of walking in synchrony to the Son teachings or walking the truth of the sutras and is meant to make one alert of mind and calm of body.
The pattern of Lee’s installation can also be related to the Neolithic signs for the mother goddess, the cycle of birth and seen as a symbolic womb. These spirals are primal signs of the unrestricted forces of nature; the universe, and lunar, seasonal, and solar patterns. This is also a symbol of progression and change, of movement and development rather than stationary. Lee’s chosen spiral pattern carries a positive significance and has existed in the arts of many cultures.
Lee uses the spiral as a sign for the journey of life and as a way of alluding to the endless discovery undertaken as walking meditation. But, she uses high heel pumps made of paper as a way of overturning their utilitarian value but also to make a statement about life’s journey. The heels are signs of feminine beauty and sexuality, but combined with the journey and because of their height, they become objects of penance. Doing penance is commonly undertaken in religious practice where it absolves sins bringing about a reconciliation of faith. Because she utilizes high heels in her works since 2005, the element becomes a fetishist symbol that can be interpreted as the reason for doing penance as seen in the latest works of 2015. Lee has installed the high heel shoes in bamboo forests, in modern buildings, in the countryside, or forming walking patterns on mountains. By so doing, she is making a statement about a spiritual journey that is likened to the Son walking meditations.
The show was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete in collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Rethymnon.
The exhibition run through September 26th, 2015.
Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete
Rethymnon Municipal Enterprise (Κ.Ε.ΔΗ.Ρ.)
Mesologgiou 32, 74 100 Rethymnon
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