Tubes, chains, and wires seem to resemble organic contraptions as they loop, glide, and snake around and into each other. These appliances are stiff or pliable when tension is applied, moving slowly yet fitfully. The water, oil, and grime flowing all around emphasizes the angular rigidity of the metal, while the plastic takes on a blurred appearance.
In a pretechnological sense, Mire Lee’s installations recall a utopian horror that we seem to have long since rendered obsolete; they come across as humane in a way that contrasts with the cold, clean, digital technologies of the present day. People are more absent than ever in the face of these digital technologies, which makes the way they function even more brutal and inhuman. While the industrial nightmare seems increasingly to have faded out of sight in the West, it has become ever more ubiquitous in the Southern Hemisphere.
South Korean artist Mire Lee (b. 1988) is the recipient of the PONTOPREIS MMK 2022. In conjunction with the MUSEUMMMKFÜR MODERNE KUNST, the Jürgen Ponto-Stiftung zur Förderung junger Künstler will henceforth award the PONTOPREIS MMK every two years. This augments a partnership that has existed since 2007, with a particular emphasis placed on supporting artists directly. The prize includes a solo exhibition at ZOLLAMT MMK and an accompanying publication, as well as an endowment of 10,000 euros. In 2021, the jury consisted of Daniel Birnbaum (artistic director of Acute Art), Ulrike Groos (director of Kunstmuseum Stuttgart), and Susanne Pfeffer (director of MUSEUMMMKFÜR MODERNE KUNST).