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In transit (choose a network)



Yona Lee

New Zealand, Korea

1986 –

No image
  • Details

    Media categories
    Installation , Sculpture
    Materials used
    stainless steel, objects
    dimensions variable
    Purchased with funds provided by the Friends of New Zealand art 2019
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Yona Lee
    Artist information
    Yona Lee

    Works in the collection


  • About

    In the global cities of the 21st century, rapid transit systems whisk us through many different kinds of spaces at speed – from home to school or work and back in the company of thousands of other travellers. It is this experience of constant motion, of navigating the vast in-between zones of public and private space, to which South Korean-born, New Zealand-based artist Yona Lee gives sculptural form. Responsive to space and architecture, while retaining a strong sense of its essential form, Lee’s installations are at once open to an array of creative possibilities and underpinned by a resolute practicality.

    In transit (choose a network) 2019 is made from the structures used throughout city centres to usher and organise large hordes of moving bodies; a vast network of stainless steel handrails that ordinarily track across bus stops, airports, train stations, shopping malls and stairwells. Scattered throughout these structures is a peculiar assortment of everyday objects that tell us, fleetingly, of a daily routine in which a series of moments have collapsed into one. It is around these objects that Lee creates opportunities for participation. Visitors are encouraged to experience her work by moving around, within and through it. A number of surprising encounters are created as Lee plays with the interaction between object, audience and gallery.

    Also trained as a professional cellist, Lee has a deep knowledge of classical music that she draws upon to shape and structure the geometry of her work. Indeed, the composition of her In transit series can be likened to musical notation: there are slurs and repetitions, accented beats and tempo shifts. However, it is her interpretation of space and architecture which Lee parallels with her musical training. When presented with an existing structure, whether it be musical or architectural, Lee relishes the tension between accepting the givens -- that is, honouring a set of parameters and original form -- and reimagining them to create something new -- that is, nudging forward that which was otherwise unnoticed or unrealised.