The process of making each work in her Perdu series takes Lee Bul two months. One after the other, the artist superimposes various shades of acrylic paint mixed with stone powder and waits for them to dry, before sanding down the surface strategically to create a marbled effect. The well-defined lines of the underlying drawing are preserved with a laser-cut foam structure until the base of the work is ready, after which Lee Bul fills in the lines, repeating the layering process with contrasting colours. Among the paint, she mixes flecks of mother of pearl, which give the surface a glittering effect as they catch the surrounding light. Throughout her practice, the artist looks for references and materials that embody contradiction. Mother of pearl, in particular, interests her because it is ‘related to organisms that come from the inside out.’ Despite its hard appearance, the substance is found on the inside of shellfish, which produce it to repair wounds. That such a beautiful material might be a result of pain gives it a power and a poignancy that underlies all of Lee Bul’s delicate works.
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