Collection

Mon grand récit: Because everything...
Lee Bul

2005

Lee Bul
b.
1964
Title:
Mon grand récit: Because everything...
Production date:
2005
Accession No:
2005/15
Measurements:
2300 x 2500 x 5000mm
Media:
wood, paint, glass crystals, synthetic beads, aluminium, foam - formathane, polystyrene, fibreglass, epoxy resin, lights, stainless steel, silicon rubber

Collection Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth

Lee Bul’s sculpture Mon grand récit: because everything… is a unique topographical, miniature, table-top landscape of an imagined city, supported by a waterfall-like form that recalls historical conceptions of the edge of the world. It is an intricate synthesis of realistic and fantastical elements that draws from a broad range of historical and contemporary sources including elements of landscape paintings of late 18th to mid-19th century European Romanticism, Russian Constructivist architecture, modern literature and contemporary motorway design, as well as from her own memories and experiences. The work is constructed from common industrial materials including aluminium, glass, synthetic modelling materials, lights and wood.

Mon grand récit: because everything… contains various examples of Russian Constructivist architecture including a scale model of Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International (1919-20). Known as the ‘Tatlin Tower’, it was heralded as the Soviet answer to the Eiffel Tower, one that would be taller and more dynamic due to its spiralling shape. Tatlin was never able to solve the engineering problems posed by this ambitious design and, like many early Soviet projects, the tower never progressed beyond the planning stage. Lee Bul’s sculpture also features 24 scale models of other constructivist buildings and monuments jumbled together and partially buried under a slick layer of pink resin. These utopian designs, many of them never built, represent a failure to reach ideals. As such, they are a continuation of Lee Bul’s exploration of man’s search for perfection and the ultimate failure of that search.

The text in lights is drawn from a section of the novel The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles. The passage describes the apparent inexhaustibility of life, so perceived because of the uncertainty of death. Lee Bul has selected a seemingly random series of words from the text, creating a fragmented, cryptic slogan. This illuminated structure towers over the ruined cityscape like a broken, scaffolded oracle.

Lee Bul created Mon grand récit: because everything… as part of the 2005 International Artist in Residence programme at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and marks a departure in her artistic direction. It was followed by Mon grand récit: weep into stones… (2005).