Spotlight

Spotlight London-based artist Kyungseo Lee

Championed by Christine Lee
The Wick - Halloween Party, Courtesy of the Artist
Above  Halloween Party, Courtesy of the Artist
ONES TO
WATCH
ONES TO
WATCH
The Wick - Portrait of Kyungseo Lee, courtesy of the artist
Above  Portrait of Kyungseo Lee, courtesy of the artist
Interview
Kyungseo Lee
04 January 2023
Interview
Kyungseo Lee
04 January 2023
Gallerist Christine Lee founded the Seoul-based LKIF Gallery with early career artists in mind. Kyungseo Lee is just one of many emerging artists she has championed from the very start.

Christine says: “As a gallerist, it is one of the luckiest moments to encounter an expression that is unfamiliar to my eyes. I can recall vividly when I visited Kyungseo Lee’s studio for the first time. I was so excited, like a bee that’s spotted the bouquet flower that night.

“I am proud that I curated her first solo show, ‘Love me/Love Me Not’, at my gallery in 2021, and here comes another proud moment for me to champion her.”
Currently completing an MA in painting at the Royal College of Art, Kyungseo Lee depicts the consequences of conflicting emotions and values in her practice. Her work has a spontaneous starting point to access her unconscious and from there on, images are worked upon and refined. She uses her self-awareness and confusion in her paintings, working with a loose painterly style where the figure soon dissolves into surface mark and gesture.

Christine says: “Despite the fact that the human body is an integral component of the artist’s practice, I like to call her painting a mental portrait. She portrays her contemplation of deeper layers of interiority in a spontaneous manner and accomplishes the final scene as a mixture of something hidden and something revealed after all. Each painting is a container for her reflection on the act of painting while processing her emotional states. She continues to explore the possibilities created by coincidence and spontaneity.”

Kyungseo Lee adds: “Themes or ideas of my paintings actually come from outside the art world. When I find difference between my view and others in conversation, that is when I start to think about my own ideas and this becomes the motivation of my work. Also, I try not to limit myself by appreciating diverse forms of art.

“Recently, my paintings have been morphing into abstractness. This mainly connects with the sense of dislocation while settling down in London as a foreigner, during which I have occasionally experienced uncertainties. The circumstance prompted me to contemplate about my subjectivity, understanding that one is a political body; I was confused whether certain behaviour in this country should be seen as general, i.e., social custom, or if they belong to particular people, i.e., personality trait. Also, finding myself reacting to someone’s behaviour differently from the way I would in my country, my practice began to discuss the consciousness of how the individual acts within a collective societal structure.”

In addition to focusing on her upcoming degree show at the Royal College of Art in July, Kyungseo Lee will be presenting six works in the Younhi art fair with gallery INN. It’s an annual event based in Younhi to connect young and emerging artists and collectors.

About the champion

The Wick - Portrait of Christine Lee, Courtesy of Christine Lee

Christine Lee founded the Seoul-based contemporary gallery LKIF, which is short for Let’s Keep It Fresh, back in 2019, to help emerging artists share their unique voices. Through its independently curated exhibitions and art fair presentations, the gallery remains committed to cultivating artists in their early careers and helping to build their credibility.

“As a gallerist, it is one of the luckiest moments to encounter an expression that is unfamiliar to my eyes.”

Place of Birth

Seoul, South Korea.

Education

An MFA in Painting at the Royal College of Art, a BFA in Painting at Hongik University, London and a BFA in Visual Communication Design at Hongik University, Seoul, Korea.

Awards, Accolades

A semi-finalist in the 2017 Adobe Design Achievement Awards, California and a Cité Internationale des Arts residency in Paris from 2016 – 2017.

Current exhibitions

I am currently showing six of my works at Purslane Art in an online group exhibition, ‘Oneiric’, curated by Charlie Siddick. ‘Oneiric’ brings together the creative works of some of the most exciting emerging artists currently practising in the UK, and 25% of all sales is to be donated to The National Network of Abortion Funds.

Spiritual guides, Mentors

Phillip Allen, my personal tutor in Royal College of Art. In my personal tutorial at the Royal College of Art, Phillip advised me to focus on the ‘action of painting’, in other words, to think about what is ‘painting’ to me as a verb. This was a huge inspiration to transform the perspective on my practice. Back then, I was stuck on the piece of the painting itself, but his message helped me to open up to the possibilities of painting and embrace the canvas as a playground.


I encountered Christine Yujin Lee in 2021 when I had my first solo show at LKIF Gallery. It was such a great opportunity to receive valuable feedback on my paintings from a different perspective, as artists tend to associate among themselves and may get narrow-sighted. With her experience and passion for art, I have gained valuable insight.

Advice

In my opinion to become an artist, it is crucial for one to think about life in general, not just the art on its own because I believe art conveys one’s view of life.

READ MORE
The Wick - Portrait of Studio Lenca in Studio, courtesy of Studio Lenca
Spotlight

Spotlight Contemporary Artist Studio Lenca

The Wick - Serena Caulfield in studio, photography by Kate Swift
Spotlight

Spotlight Irish artist Serena Caulfield

The Wick - Portrait of Emilie Pugh, photographer Kasia Wozniak
Spotlight

Spotlight London-based Artist Emilie Pugh

The Wick - Lydia Baker by Nick Starichenko
Spotlight

Spotlight Contemporary artist Lydia Baker

The Wick - Jo Dennis
Spotlight

Spotlight British multi-disciplinary artist Jo Dennis

The Wick - Portrait October London Studio (1) Colour, courtesy of the artist.
Spotlight

Spotlight Abstract painter Jack Coulter