Reception: Saturday, April 18 from 3pm to 5pm
Gallery Talk with Eunsook Lee at 4pm
Target Gallery, the in-house gallery of the Torpedo Factory Art Center, will completely transform in the hands of Korean artist Eunsook Lee for her fluorescent and black-light installation Dispersed Family. On view Saturday, April 18 through Sunday, May 31, 2015, Lee’s site-specific work explores familial ties that bind us together in spite of the demands of modern society.
Lee uses black-light-sensitive threads and fabrics, resulting in a dramatic fluorescent palette, through which she communicates with her inner self. Dispersed Family is a departure from her usual themes of tragic family separation, politics, and personal healing and instead focuses on the connections we maintain across the globe.
“In a global era, family members may live in different countries and may be only able to see each other every few years,” said Lee. “Even though there are no political barriers, these families are split, but because of their love for each other, they are still happy.”
The installation will be translucent and will envelope viewers in such a way to invite deep contemplation. The glow-in-the-dark threads represent relationships that are both continuous and yet free in their own space. She weaves them together with layers of letters and photographs of her family, as well as seeds and leaves from their homes to represent the hope for possibilities and regrets of separation. The black light illuminate even the smallest details.
“Target Gallery is dedicated to bringing internationally recognized artists like Eunsook Lee to Alexandria and Northern Virginia,” said Kaitlyn Ward, Target Gallery director. “The familial connections, separation, and longing that Eunsook touches upon in Dispersed Family will be especially poignant for the large number of transplants in the region who are geographically separated from their families.”
Lee has had several high-profile installations that explore family separations, through war, ideological differences, and death. In 2014, she spent time working in Washington D.C. and presented The Spirit of Peace and Healing: Out of the Trauma of the 6/25 War at the Korean Cultural Center. She also installed Remember 727 by the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool to mark the day the Demilitarized Zone was created between the North and South Korea.
In 2007, Vanished Berlin Wall at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin had the illuminated names of 5,000 separated Korean family members. In 2013, Calling out Names of Families Separated during the Korean War at the Demilitarized Zone featured 100 meters of fluorescent letters as a commentary on the meaning of family and nation and urged for peaceful reunification.
Dispersed Family is the first show in the new annual Special Exhibitions program to showcase new work and artists.
Eunsook Lee has actively presented her work in private and group exhibitions since 1990. She studied at Ewha Womans University and went on to receive her MFA at Hongik University in Seoul. In 1986, she began using thin fluorescent threads for her art work with titles such as Umbilical Cords, Lost Embryo, and Life. In 1997, Lee began visiting and working in Germany. She gained widespread international acclaim with Vanished Berlin Wall, an illuminated installation featured at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in 2007. Her works have been featured in Korea, Germany, Hong Kong, and the U.S.
About Target Gallery
Target Gallery is the contemporary exhibition space for the Torpedo Factory Art Center. The gallery promotes high standards of art by continuously exploring new ideas through a variety of visual media in a rotating schedule of national and international exhibitions. The Target Gallery is open daily from 10 – 6 pm and until 9 pm on Thursdays.
About the Torpedo Factory Art Center
Founded in 1974 in an old munitions plant, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is home to the largest number of publicly accessible working artist studios in the U.S. The organization’s mission is to foster connections between artists and the public that ignite the creative spirit. Just south of Washington, D.C., the Torpedo Factory Art Center overlooks the Potomac River in the Old Town section of Alexandria, Va. Each year, more than a half million national and international visitors meet and interact with more than 160 resident artists in 82 working studios and six galleries. The Torpedo Factory Art Center is also home to The Art League School and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum.
Torpedo Factory is located at 105 N. Union St., Alexandria, VA. For more information, visit torpedofactory.org/target.