Winner of the 9th Art Award: Lee Bul

Photo by Lee Bul, ©Photo Algirdas Bakas, Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London, Paris, Salzburg, Seoul

Lee Bul
Willing To Be Vulnerable, 2015-2016
Heavy-duty fabric, metalized film, transparent film, polyurethane ink, fog machine, LED lighting, electronic wiring. Dimensions variable. Installation view, 20th Biennale of Sydney, 2016. © Lee Bul. Photo: Algirdas Bakas. Courtesy: Studio Lee Bul & Courtesy of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London · Paris · Salzburg · Seoul

The internationally renowned Korean artist Lee Bul, a pioneer for her generation, will receive the 9th Ruth Baumgarte Art Prize on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, 7 p.m. at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin. The award is endowed with €20,000 and is one of the most highly endowed honors for artists in Germany.

Lee Bul, born in Seoul in 1964, is one of the pioneering international artists of her generation. With extraordinary sensitivity, her work explores the ways in which changes in our conceptions of the body, architecture and technology have shaped both our real and imaginary worlds. She draws inspiration from film, literature and science, as well as European and South Korean history, to create hybrid forms that convey a fantastical and often disturbing dystopian vision.

Press articles

Using contradictory materials ranging from organic silk and mother-of-pearl to fiberglass and silicone, she explores the promise of utopian happiness as well as the dark destructive undercurrents of an increasingly technological culture. Events and narratives of South Korean past and present underpin her more recent immersive installations.

In addition to numerous museum exhibitions worldwide, such as at the New Museum, New York (2002), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012), the Manege Central Exhibition Hall, St. Petersburg (2020) and recently at the Gothenburg Museum of Art (2023), her first exhibition curated by Stephanie Rosenthal at the Gropius Bau in Berlin in 2018 also attracted increased attention in Germany. For this reason, the award ceremony will take place at the Gropius Bau. In 2019, Lee Bul received the Ho-Am Prize for Art, which is awarded to people of Korean origin who have contributed to the enrichment of culture and art for humanity.

Statement of the jury

"With Lee Bul's art, the jury also recognizes the special understanding of art of the art prize founder Ruth Baumgarte, which deals with themes of human existence between exclusion, suffering and the pursuit of freedom." The members of the prize jury were Alexander Baumgarte, Chairman of the Board of the Ruth Baumgarte Art Foundation, Katharina Beisiegel, Director of the Kirchner Museum Davos, Dr. Sabine Fellner, independent curator Vienna, Dr. Renée Gadsden, author and lecturer at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Johan Holten, Director of the Städtische Kunsthalle Mannheim and Angela Stief, Director of the ALBERTINA Modern, Vienna

Installation view, Lee Bul: From Me, Belongs to You Only, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2012 Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Mori Art Museum