[Exhibition] Episteme: A Free Man’s Yoke

Are we all free men? Sovereignty may seem to be the basis of human rights, but we often enslave ourselves with ambition and responsibility. A French philosopher Michel Foucault, renowned for his work in psychiatry, punishment, and sexuality, once defined this behavioral phenomenon as Episteme: voluntary regulations and social structures of the contemporary era built upon the pan-social system. 

Sarah Lee revisited this concept through her paintings with complex layers of diverse colors and expressionistic brushstrokes in hopes to question the existence of true, individual freedom. By dismantling and transcending the classical notion of power dynamics and the complex social structure, she referenced her statements to academic theories on unconsciousness, freedom, and social dynamism.

The exhibition later expanded to <Framed Superiority> (2022), where Lee collaborated with a singer and writer Jane Jang to deepen her narrative. There, they focused on sharing the process of making artworks and co-created paintings and sound artworks in a setting that reenacted their studios.

Jane selected the artist and artworks through a year long process of interviewing the artist, researching theoretical aspects, visiting the artist’s studio, and contacting collectors and media for sales and promotion. The topic of the exhibition and methodologies involved in the creation of works were discussed in detail during the talk led by the artist and Jane. By working closely with a team of three chefs, Jane designed a dining program that echoes the exhibition theme in ingredients(those that underwent punishing cultivation environment), cooking methods(encapsulated in containers), and colours(layers of vibrant colours) so that the audience can carry on the experience through five senses.

Article: art1: Free will embodied in dynamic brushstrokes – Sarah Lee’s solo exhibition (Kor)

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