Lee Bul Named Ho-Am Prize Laureate
By Ophelia Lai
South Korean artist Lee Bul has been named winner of the 2019 Ho-Am Prize for the Arts, which recognizes distinguished individuals of Korean descent working in the fields of literature, music, as well as visual and performing arts. Lee will pick up a gold medal, a diploma, and a cash award of KRW 300 million (USD 263,300) at a ceremony held at Ho-Am Art Hall in Seoul on May 31.
Born in 1964, Lee is among the foremost contemporary Korean artists, known for her inventive sculptures and installations probing the anxieties and contradictions surrounding notions of identity and human progress. Her first major midcareer survey, titled “Crashing,” opened at London’s Hayward Gallery in June 2018. She was South Korea’s representative artist at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999, and will return in the 58th edition to present at the Biennale’s main exhibition, “May You Live in Interesting Times,” curated by Ralph Rugoff.
Established in 1990 by Kun-Hee Lee, chairman of South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung, the annual Ho-Am Prize is also awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine, as well as individuals or organizations that have undertaken commendable philanthropic activities. Since 1997, the prize has been conferred by the Ho-Am Foundation, which endows a number of other cultural and scientific initiatives in South Korea.
Visual artists who have previously received the Ho-Am Prize include sculptor and installation artist Do Ho Suh (2017), multidisciplinary artist Kimsooja (2015), and minimalist painter and sculptor Lee Ufan (2001).
Ophelia Lai is ArtAsiaPacific’s reviews editor.
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