Thought-provoking sculptures by Minsu Lee

At a first glance, one may see the work of sculptor Minsu Lee as a celebration of childhood and innocence. However, the posture, the clothing, the gaze and gestures of the little boys standing on suitcases reveal a dark side to their fragile youth.

According to the Seoul-based artist, they are not the sons of wealthy men from Western countries, but abandoned and unhappy children living in harsh conditions and with the hope to find a loving home. At an early age, when others have many opportunities ahead, they find joy in a gift, in kindness, in their dreams. Reflecting on the situation of orphans awaiting adoption across the globe and of those aspiring to a better life despite having parents, Minsu Lee depicts an uncomfortable truth – packed as products, these tiny beings have been rejected, left behind at some point, and are now waiting to be sold in a game of chance that may or may not be in their favor.

Perhaps the most unsettling sculpture from the Pick me series is the one with an African boy gently opening his arms while keeping his hands in the pockets of his jacket. He seems to wish for an embrace, although something is holding him back – it could be doubt, fear or a feeling of strangeness due to a prior lack of caring. Also impressive is the final image, of a boy holding a ball in his hand, probably the only toy he has ever had.

The work of Minsu Lee makes us aware of the disquieting life of the unprivileged and the flaws of human nature and the society we live in.

Minsu Lee - variable installation

Variable installation

Minsu Lee - variable installation, acrylic on resin, 2017

Variable installation, acrylic on resin, 2017

Minsu Lee - variable installation

Variable installation

Minsu Lee - Pick me, 47x36x90 cm, grout cement, 2017

Pick me, 47x36x90 cm, grout cement, 2017

Minsu Lee - Pick me, 47x36x91 cm, grout cement, 2017

Pick me, 47x36x91 cm, grout cement, 2017

Minsu Lee - Pick me, 47x36x91 cm, grout cement, 2017

Pick me, 47x36x91 cm, grout cement, 2017

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Images © Minsu Lee

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