Nikki Seung-Lee who was born in 1970, is a Korean photographer and film-maker formerly based in New York City, now living and working in Seoul. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Chung-Ang University in South Korea in 1993, she moved to New York in 1994 to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. She earned her Master of Arts in photography at New York University in 1998. In 1999, Lee’s first solo exhibition took place at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects in New York which was also her representative from 1998 through to the fall of 2007
Projects: 1997 – 2001
Lee’s most noted work is, Projects (1997–2001). It began while she was still in school and it depicts her in snapshot photographs in which she poses with drag queens, punks, swing dancers, senior citizens, Latino’s, hip-hop musicians and fans, skateboarders, lesbians, young urban professionals, and Korean schoolgirls. She isn’t just dressed in her normal everyday clothes, she dresses herself up to look like the people she poses with. For example, if she was to take photographs of herself with some hip-hop musicians she would dress herself up in their clothes, do her hair and make-up like them, then have a photo taken with them. This project was one of her graduation requirements.
The Hispanic photographs in her project is about culture, attitude and using dress codes to get across behaviour in certain backgrounds and forming a representation of a social group. Lee labels peoples identity and challenges these in her work. She see’s these projects as a performance and a sense of expression of how we view and class people.
In many of her projects she often plays a key role in getting the message across. All her projects are strong and adventurous, challenging different sub cultures, scenes and she wants viewers to see the roles as a performance. She also wants people to see how we can change our make-up, to create another ‘face’, using this as an artistic impression.
“Essentially life itself is a performance, when we change our clothes to alter out appearance, the real act is transformation of our way of expression – the outward expression of our psyche.”
Nikki S Lee’s work references artists such as Cindy Sherman where she dresses up to address race and gender in American.
In this image Lee is pictures with dyed blonde hair whilst posing suggestively on a bright yellow low rider car accompanied by a stereotypically mid western man. Her aim is to question stereotypes that unconsciously govern our minds.
- The photographs appear to be simple at first glance and some almost have a comedic value.
- Her friends took the photographs on a simple point and shoot camera (to achieve a generic everyday essence to the image.)
- Transformed herself in to various different social groups using costumes, props etc.
- She had to learn new skills for the different projects, for example, she learned to skateboard and dance. She also lost weight via personal trainer for certain roles.
- She used a professional make-up artist.
People think a big camera and big lighting will make art, and I want to break that rule. If you have a great concept, it can be art.
Nikki S Lee
RESEARCH THE TERM “HYPERREALITY”
Hyperrealism is a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high-resolution photograph. Hyperrealism is considered an advancement of Photorealism by the methods used to create the resulting paintings or sculptures. The term is primarily applied to an independent art movement and art style in the United States and Europe that has developed since the early 1970s.
3 IMAGE EXAMPLES (ANY MEDIA)
Above: The architecture of the contemporary city is no longer simply about the physical space of buildings and landscape, more and more it is about the synthetic spaces created by the digital information that we collect, consume and organise.
An immersive interface may become as much part of the world we inhabit as the buildings around us. I choose this because it shows how false the place in which we live is.
Above: A pencil drawing, which is an amazing example of an almost photographic copy. It almost looks real, especially at a glance, the skill to accomplish this is of a very high standard.Above: Robert Bechtle’s example of a painting of a photograph. I choose this because I was amazed by how lifelike it appears to be, you can not tell unless you zoom in to the image.