Lee Bae: La Maison de la Lune Brûlée

Lee Bae: La Maison de la Lune Brûlée

Wilmotte Foundation

March 7, 2024
Lee Bae
La Maison de la Lune Brûlée
April 20–November 24, 2024
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Wilmotte Foundation
Corte Nuova, Fondamenta dell’ Abbazia, 3560
30121 Venice

The Wilmotte Foundation hosts from April 20 to November 24, the Collateral Event of the 60th International Art Exhibition—the Venice Biennale entitled Lee Bae: La Maison de la Lune Brûlée.

Organized by the Hansol Foundation—Museum SAN, the Fondation d’Entreprise Wilmotte, with the support of Johyun Gallery, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Italy, the Korean Cultural Center in Italy, the Italian Embassy in Korea, the Italian Cultural Institute in Seoul, Perrotin, Esther Schipper, the City of Cheong do, and Fabriano. La Bella Carta dal 1264, the exhibition curated by Valentina Buzzi presents artist Lee Bae’s homage to a century-old ritual known as Moonhouse Burning (daljip taeugi) deeply rooted in South Korea. Held annually on the first full moon of the year, this ritual, which coincides with the 15th day of the lunar calendar’s first month, brings the entire community together to engage in a unique and symbolic celebration of cyclical cosmology.

The exhibition delves into the profound connection between humans and the natural world, exploring themes of renewal, circularity, and the harmonious rhythms of nature, going beyond the nature/culture dichotomy of modern times to rethink our interconnectedness.

The two-part exhibition unfolds before, and during the Biennale, offering a rich narrative that engages both local and global communities. Before the opening, Lee Bae gathers messages from around the world, which are transcribed onto hanji paper, a traditional Korean paper. These messages, embodying wishes for the new year, become part of the Moonhouse Burning ritual taking place on February 24th in the city of Cheong-do, a ceremony recorded and later projected onto the walls that precede the exhibition hall in April. The video-art piece, titled Burning (2024), is projected onto the walls of the entrance corridor of the Wilmotte Foundation that leads to the exhibition hall, through 7 projectors, and offers a first glimpse into the vocabulary of Lee Bae and the tradition of the Moonhouse Burning through both visual and sound.

Inside the exhibition hall, visitors encounter various Brushstroke installations (2024) which are coated with white paper from Fabriano through a special technique called “marouflage”. The Brushstroke installations are painted using charcoal paint derived from the Moonhouse combustion. The exhibition space becomes a symbolic representation of hope emerging from collective aspirations, as well as a moment to experience what Asian philosophies recognize as the “negative space”. The journey continues with a striking monolith carved from Zimbabwean black granite, serving as a focal point for meditation and reflection. This monumental sculpture which measures 4.6 meters in height and is titled Meok (2024), evokes the traditional Korean ink-stick, used historically in Korean academic and cultural circles as a way to transmit knowledge among generations. Lastly, the space is complemented by the work on canvas Issu du Feu (2024), where charcoal flakes are transformed into mosaics of contrasting highlights and opacities. Exiting the exhibition hall, visitors traverse Moon (2024), an ephemeral structure whose path leads to the Venetian waters. Enveloped in paper through the marouflage technique, and illuminated by a ceiling in yellow glass panels, the path symbolizes renewal and connection, for the audience to feel and contemplate not only the Venetian laguna but also the moonlight that reconnects them with the atmosphere unfolding in Cheong-do during the burning ritual.

In an era marked by complexity and estrangement from nature, La Maison de la Lune Brûlée delivers a powerful message of reconnection with nature’s rhythms, celebrating lunar cosmologies and folklore traditions. The exhibition not only explores the timeless wisdom of Korean philosophy but also raises essential questions about the pivotal role of ancient traditions in contemporary times. Through the synthesis of art and ritual, Lee Bae’s exhibition invites visitors to embark on a profound exploration of our shared humanity and the possibilities of re-discovery and hope.

Press office
Claudia Malfitano, MAY, Communication & Events: claudia [​at​] mayvenice.com

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March 7, 2024

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