press release

Lee Bul Utopia Saved November 13, 2020–January 31, 2021

From now until January 31, 2021, the Manege Central Exhibition Hall in St Petersburg presents Utopia Saved, the first ever major solo show featuring legendary Korean artist Lee Bul to take place in Russia.

Manege is one of Russia's most in-demand venues for displaying world-class art; it occupies 4.5 thousand square meters and offers novel ways for visitors of all ages to engage with contemporary and retrospective art.

Among Manege’s exhibitions held in 2020 were Deineka / Samokhvalov (imagined as a soccer match between two major Soviet painters, this exhibition featured 300 works from 37 museums and 9 private collections), Future Lab. Kinetic art in Russia (a vast panorama detailing the development of kineticism in Russia in the 1960–70s, with the works of 87 artists from more than 20 museums and 40 private collections), Magnum Photos. As They See Us. A Portrait of Russia (insight into the USSR/Russia through the work of 39 legendary documentary photographers—more than 250 images), and Nemoskva. More than Moscow (a unique collaboration with the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts demonstrating works by 80 artists from 21 cities across Russia).

At the end of the year Manege’s team presented an in-depth study of Lee Bul’s multifaceted work. Her art has in many respects defined the development trajectory of the contemporary Asian creative scene and has also had a significant influence on modern artistic process all around the world.

Sunjung Kim, curator of the project, focused on the creative visual dialogue between Lee Bul and the Russian avant-garde. Included in the latter are works by artists Kazimir Malevich, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Aleksandra Ekster, architects Ivan Leonidov and Iakov Chernikhov, scientist and thinker Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, and others. Utopia Saved opens up a new facet of contemporary art in continuation of the centuries-old dialogue between the cultures of Russia, Europe, and Asia.

“Lee Bul’s longstanding fascination with utopia entered a new phase in the first decade of the 21st century, when she started creating architectural sculptures and drawings inspired by Constructivism and Russian avant-garde art and architecture,” note exhibition curators Sunjung Kim and SooJin Lee.

A dual-language catalogue has been prepared. It includes articles by Russian and foreign experts, written especially for the publication, which explore various aspects of Lee Bul’s art.

The exhibition is organised by Manege in cooperation with the Gwangju Biennale Foundation.

Curator: Sunjung Kim
Co-Curator: SooJin Lee
Project Initiator and Director: Anna Kirikova