Untitled I-IV (Alexander Rodchenko, 1928), 2008
4 lightjet prints
Edition: 7, AP
70 x 70 cm each
Courtesy the artist, Lisson Gallery, London and New York; Johnen Galerie, Berlin; and Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich
Vancouver artist Tim Lee restages key moments in art history and popular culture, exploring the cross-section of parody and fandom as the artist both challenges and furthers these histories. He has often paid homage to the Russian Constructivist artist and graphic designer Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956) who was an innovator in photography. Influenced by cubism and the Futurists, he played liberally with skewed angles and geometric forms. This fascination with new perspectives came to a head in Rodchenko’s camera work, where he disrupted casual means of looking by shooting his subjects from oblique, often aerial viewpoints. Dramatic and vertiginous, Rodchenko’s photographs reinvigorated the everyday, presenting mundane subjects as strange, fascinating presences that demanded a closer look.
In this cunning series of photographs. Tim Lee adopts the visual logic of constructivist aesthetics, He upends the conventions of camera advertisement, using toppled and slanting perspectives to throw these normally straightforward shots into cinematic motion. Lee identifies a paradox in camera advertising: that the camera being depicted was not used to capture the picture. Thus, he has arranged an intricate series of mirrors that allowed his Leica camera to photograph itself.
Lee notes that the works, which are perfectly square in dimension, may be rotated ninety degrees counter-clockwise on the wall – just one of the many ways that Untitled I-IV preserves the restless, inquisitive essence of Rodchenko’s photographs.
Tim Lee (b. 1975, Seoul, South Korea) works across photography, text, video, and sculpture. Since graduating with a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia in 2002, he has exhibited his work widely including solo exhibitions at Presentation House Gallery; the Hayward Gallery, London; DAAD galerie, Berlin; and Asia Society, New York, as well as group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Haus der Kunst, Munich; and biennales in Sydney, Yokohama, Istanbul and Shanghai. In 2008, Lee was the recipient of the Sobey award. He is based in Vancouver, and is represented by Lisson Gallery, London, New York, Milan; Johnen Galerie, Berlin; and Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich.