EX: 1/30/2012
  >> Search exhibitions
>> Confirm subscribe
Minsheng Art Museum(民生美术馆)
2014.10.12 Sun - 2014.10.12 Sun
Opening Exhibition
10/12/2014 15:00
Building F, NO.570 West Huaihai Road (Red Town), Changning District of Shanghai, China.
021 6282 8729
Opening Hours
Tuesday - Sunday, 10am -10pm (free after 6pm)

>> Go to website

>> See map

Time_Art_Impact Dialogue #5
[Press Release]

Time_Art_Impact Dialogue #5

Hye Rim Lee’s Video Images and
Multidimensional Exploration


HYE RIM LEE in dialogue with ZHOU YI

12 OCTOBER 2014 at 15:00


Please note that this event does NOT take place at MOMENTUM Berlin.



Video Screening:
Obsession/Love Forever (2007), Crystal Beauty Electro Doll (2006-08), Crystal City Spun (2008) and Strawberry Garden Lucid Dream (2011)

Followed By

Hye Rim Lee in dialogue with Zhou Yi

At Minsheng Art Museum
Address: bldg F, NO.570 West Huaihai Road, Shanghai

Live-streamed from Hye Rim Lee’s Studio in Auckland, New Zealand


Video arts have been impacting the modern high-speed movements of various kinds since its birth as well as reshaping the art history of 20 century with its moving images. To embark on an effective,open and updated exchange between the east and west seems to possess a great importance to accelerate and boost the contemporary video art. This time, with a lasting and fine cooperation with MOMENTUM Germany, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum will witness the Fifth Phase of “Time·Art·Impact” dialogue project: Sex ·Politics · Cross-culture: Hye Rim Lee’s Video Images and Multidimensional Exploration. Artist Hye Rim Lee and Yi Zhou would be invited to give the audience a talk upon the modern movement of video art, sexuality, and politics under a intercultural perspective. During this event, Hye Rim Lee’s video work Obsession/Love Forever (2007) from MOMENTUM Collection will be screened, along with three other works, Crystal Beauty Electro Doll (2006-08), Crystal City Spun (2008) and Strawberry Garden Lucid Dream (2011).

HYE RIM LEE’s work questions new technology’s role in image making and representation. Her work is consistent with recent international developments in contemporary art, e.g., reviewing aspects of popular culture in relation to notions of femininity and looking at the way fictional animated identities are propagated within contemporary culture. Her work has developed through the critical and conceptual evolution of her animated character TOKI, the principal component of her ongoing TOKI/Cyborg Project (2002-present). Lee has positioned her work at a progressive interface between East and West by exploring areas of computer gaming, cyber culture, contemporary myth-making and animamix. She has exhibited in major international exhibitions, including the Incheon Women Artists Biennale (2009), Glasstress, 53rd Venice Art Biennale (2009), Kukje Gallery, Max Lang Gallery NY, MoCA Shanghai, Millennium Museum, Beijing, Art Basel, and the Armory Show NY.


YI ZHOU is a Chinese media artist, film director, actress and speaker, who has lived in Rome from the age of ten and studied between London and Paris with degrees in Political Science and Economics. Since 2010 she has relocated back to China and founded her studio and production company in Shanghai. An image maker and muse, switching from the front to the back of the camera, Yi Zhou is a modern-day Chinese Hitchcock, Yoko Ono and Cindy Sherman, described by Vogue China. Currently, Yi Zhou is also Tudou.com’s(Chinese would-be YouTube) art-director and serves as art and fashion advisory member at Sina.com (which owns Chinese twitter), which owns Chinese twitter(Sina Weibo). Yi Zhou was also selected as part of the Women’s Forum and aspeaker at TEDxParis. Her work has been shown at Shanghai Biennale, Venice Biennale, Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.

[Work Descriptions by Hye Rim Lee]

Obsession/Love Forever (2007)

Obsession/Love Forever aspires to come to terms with our contemporary vision of beauty by examining the crossover between the fashion industry’s construction of norms and contemporary myth created in cyber culture and computer gaming. My project is continuation of my on going series TOKI/Cyborg Project (2003~) which questions new technology’s role in image making and representation. My digital character TOKI parodies the idealisation of female form in Asian manga and anime, computer gaming and cyber culture. TOKI’s body has been cut into pieces – posing coyly to sit, move and beckon in the perfume bottle. The parts of the body become a product of beautification and commodity conflating power and seduction. The animated body parts parody the obsession with beauty created by phallic motivations in cyber culture and gaming, with the work referencing critical contributions from contemporary mythology, psychoanalysis, technology, cybernetics, aesthetics, plastic surgery, feminism, consumerism and eroticism.

The project features digital 3D animations consisting of 8 DVD projection installations and experimental sound connected to a surround sound system. Each DVD features an animation sequence of different parts of TOKI’s body captured and reacting with particles in a collection of perfume bottles. Each DVD is QuickTime DV PAL/NTSC format. The duration of DVD is approx 2 minutes.

Each DVD of animation conveys ideas and concept behind the project. The animated body parts express, with a slightly ironic turn, commenting male desire and voyeuristic fantasy as well as female fantasy of presenting body as a commodity. Each DVD plays with and accentuates the slippery separations between dominance and desire, fantasy and fear, and birth and death.

The DVDs are:
DVD 1. Hand in Moschino perfume bottle
DVD 2. Lips in Chance perfume bottle Eye in perfume bottle
DVD 3. Eye in Chopard Wish bottle
DVD 4. Breast in Lou Lou perfume bottle
DVD 5. Eye in J’adore perfume bottle
DVD 6. Legs and shoes in Channel No. 5 perfume bottle
DVD 7. Bottom in Poison perfume bottle
DVD 8. Genitalia in Comme des Garcons perfume bottle

All the perfume bottles are modelled to look slightly different from the reference of the actual model of commercial designer perfume.

Further text here

Crystal Beauty Electro Doll (2006-08)

Crystal Beauty Electro Doll is a part of the ongoing series TOKI/Cyborg Project: game, pop and cyber world, a project which focuses on character modelling. It considers how boy game culture encourages the fantasy of the perfectly constructed female body. The animation is edited screen recordings of the 3d animation modelling process which concentrates on the process of modelling and modification of TOKI’s body – lips, eyelashes, finger nails, hair, breast, bottom, high heels, and genitalia – in relation to plastic surgery. Crystal Beauty Electro Doll examines the recent boom in plastic surgery in Korea and its underlying psychological impulses. The artist, as creator of TOKI, takes over the role of re-defining and re-creating a female form to fit the requirements of the desirable body promoted by advertising and the media. Such images conventionally draw on white or Eurasian models thus promoting a western ideal of beauty that can only be achieved by Korean women through extreme modification. Using a 3D modelling process, Lee challenges the existing male dominated fields of both plastic surgery and 3D animation. TOKI goes under the knife to expose the radical surgical procedures undergone by women in order to achieve an ideal beauty. She is the product of the technologised perfection and commodification of the female body.

The artist examines the psychology behind the obsession to be beautiful, young and perfect, questioning the myth of technological perfection and by association, the contemporary obsession with bodily transformation. Beauty is now is a mass-produced commodity that can be purchased.

TOKI positions herself as both desiring and desirable subject. The eight parts of body also are a reminiscent of male fetish and masculine gaze that segregate women’s bodies into their various parts.

Lee examines the traditional male gaze which seeks erotic pleasure from the spectacle of the female body. The audience is presented with a sexuality that referenced the female body’s role as a fetish object constituted by and for an erotic and predominantly male gaze. The project suggests the twisted erotic desire and creates the voyeuristic/ non-participative fascination to the audience. The evolving poetics of beauty is accelerated by the multiple mouse clicking sound layered and synced by 8 scenes.

TOKI, the pretty doll-like cyborg, has all the conventional attributes of a clichéd femininity valued in Korean culture. The ultra-sexy TOKI is the embodiment of fantasy, sensuality, and seduction. Here the modelling process lures the audience by inviting the (male) viewer into a fantasy, suggesting that she possesses the power to fulfil his desire in the creation of an ideal, virtual beauty. TOKI’s white body epitomise the powerful image of an ideal beauty, and the ability of digital and surgical construction to create a ‘plastic’ fantasy world.

The digital protagonist TOKI stars in her own video game, which challenges boy game culture and creates new relations between images, bodies, identities and artefacts through the media in relation to girl game culture. In so doing it provokes questions about relationships between the body and technology, male and female, and inner and outer states. The artist presents an awareness of powerful gender stereotypes whilst acknowledging that eroticism and sexuality are important dimensions in life. Global western values of ideal body form, shape, and beauty are dissected in a critique that involves cybernetics, plastic surgery, aesthetics, ethics, genetics, gender power relations and identity.

Crystal City Spun (2008)

Crystal City Spun is a spectacle of sexually charged stimuli, which opens with a cityscape of spinning dildo towers. Out of the landscape emerges Dragon YONG, a vehicle for fantasy exploration by, TOKI, a highly stylized curvaceous, warrior-cum-vixen who draws upon the Japanese tradition of Manga, Korean animamix and Western ideals of sexuality and beauty. TOKI exists in a fantasyland ripe with testosterone-driven energy. To sadistically erotic effect, YONG taps TOKI’s exposed nipple with the tip of his pointy claw. This titillation sends TOKI into a pirouette. She stops only when YONG whips her with his whiskers which sparks the crystallization of both the landscape and its characters.

The video has a playful, childlike quality alluding to fantasy and toys such as pink bunny rabbits and digitally exaggerated reflections. But at the same time, Lee explores sexual innuendo, and plays with varying degrees of sexuality and sexual expression both with imagery and color.

The video utilizes the latest techniques in 3D digital technology creating some characters in “crystal” structure, lending the work a delicacy and elegance. Crystal City is a fantasyland where dream and reality mix. While Lee is humorous and nostalgic, she does not shy away from the darker side of fantasy, the worlds of obsession and addiction.

Although the artist’s work is rooted in the challenges facing the community of Asian diaspora who have once settled in New Zealand, the work speaks to the manipulation and perception of female sexual identity worldwide. Furthermore, Lee challenges the conventions of the traditionally male-dominated worlds of game structure and 3D animation, specifically when it comes to virtualized images of women. Crystal City is a project in which cyberculture and contemporary myth-making intersect.

Strawberry Garden Lucid Dream (2011)

Throughout my adulthood I have been dealing with the significance of shifting identity. My work reflects on my surroundings and deals with issues created by and from my understanding or confusion of contemporary pop culture around me. My work deals with cyber culture and cyber feminism by representing TOKI as a vehicle for fantasy, sexuality, and identity. The paradise in my fantasy recollects all the memories from my childhood to adulthood, and the big shift from Korea to New Zealand to New York and back to New Zealand. From the organic nature of my old child house garden to the inorganic cyber world of fantasy and dream, my paradise exists in between these two worlds.

Strawberry Garden Lucid Dream is a fantasy world that evokes nostalgia for childhood. The project, an artistic project “in progress”, is a reflection on how the female sexual identity is perceived and used at a global level.

Through an exploration of cyber culture dynamics, intended for a male public, and a fascination with new technologies, I use a different outlook to analyse some aspects of popular culture, globalization and especially femininity in relation to the media.

My idea of locating my paradise in between the organic world of my childhood house and garden and the inorganic cyber world of fantasy and dream. It’s zone that exists between the analog and the digital, between dream and reality; and is of course beautifully encapsulated in my project title – the Lucid Dream.


Guest Translator: JIN WEN, associate professor of School of Foreign Language and Literaturein Fudan University, and doctor in Northwest University of America. Having been a teacher in the Departments of Comparative Literature and English of Columbia University since 2006, she mainly lectures upon courses in American literature, Asian American Literature, theories of Western culture and literature criticism.

Watch the video documentation of the talk

TAI#5: Hye Rim Lee in dialogue with Zhou Yi from Momentum Worldwide on Vimeo.