Lee Taesoos sculptures of stones and iron beams seem heavy enough to fall through the floorboards at any moment. In actuality, these hefty pieces are made out of polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam or blue foam, and barely weigh over a kilogram.

 

During his tenure as a specialist, Lee worked on creating realistic replicas of rare plants and ancient relics to be displayed in museums. These skills were transferred into working on his installations. The artist uses polystyrene and PVC to create the shape of his sculptures, and applies detailed paint work to complete the optical illusion. The iron beams exhibited in the show depict H-beams, used to make up the skeleton frames of a building. In order to withstand the enormous weight of a building, the beams themselves typically weigh over a hundred kilograms.

 

Lee Taesoo plays with optical weight; heavy metal beams are scantly supported by wine glasses and gigantic stones hover in the air, held up by fragile glass panels. By creating objects that seem heavy, Lee critiques the way in which our society measures success - based on the superficial value of ownership (to have) rather than the intrinsic value of existence itself (to be). Just as an object that seems heavy is near weightless in reality, we are invited to reexamine what it means to have value as human beings in todays society, and whether we have forgotten our true humanity and autonomy, distracted by the surface value of possession.

 

Lees decision to recreate industrial materials expands his critique of superficiality, and connects it to the era of industrialization. Lee is wary of the illusion of modernity, brought on by senseless indulgence in superficial progress. Lee invites us to carefully examine the properties of an object beyond what is visible, and as such, prompts us to take a moment to reflect on the reality beyond what we perceive to be a developed society.