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Spring 2023 exhibitions at Canal Projects: Seung-taek Lee and Eglė Budvytytė

2023 Spring Program

Canal Projects presents its 2023 spring program.

Opening Reception: February 3, 6–8pm, Free and open to the public

Seung-taek Lee: Things Unstable
February 3–May 22 

Things Unstable considers the groundbreaking work of Korean avant-garde artist Seung-taek Lee (b. 1932). Lee’s revolutionary multimedia approach, which includes ephemeral performances, site-specific works, installations, photographic interventions, appropriated canvases, and sculptures, has earned him a reputation. Lee has used Korean shamanic rituals, folk artifacts, and materials to examine the values of art and art history throughout his successful career. Lee, known for his persistent sense of humour, continues to push the envelope by inciting vocabulary that challenge conventional notions of art.

Seung-taek Lee has drawn on the facade of 351 Canal Street in New York for this exhibition. The drawing will be brought to life as an artistic intervention during the opening week, using red fabric evocative of his 1970s Wind performances. The hanging cloth will reflect the artist’s longtime fascination with site-specificity, ecology, and performance art.

Lee’s multimedia performances, which used natural elements like as fire, wind, soil, and water, enlarged the lexicon of the 1970s’ turn towards environmental aesthetics, making him an early proponent of eco-art. Canal Projects will present re-enactments of two of Seung-taek Lee’s most well-known works, Wind-Folk Amusement (1971) and Earth Performance (1973), to commemorate his long-standing concern with the environment (1989-1996). Documentation and replication of these performances will place Lee’s practice in the perspective of today’s most serious ecological concerns, while simultaneously harkening back to 1970s worldwide environmental movements.

Reenactments will be led by the collaborative duo, artists A young Yu and Nicholas Oh.

Special thanks to the artist, Jungsook Lee, and Gallery Hyundai. 

Seung-taek Lee (b. 1932) lives and works in Seoul. Lee has gained national and international recognition as a celebrated experimental artist. In the course of his prolific career, Lee has been an active member of several art organizations including the Korean Contemporary Sculpture Association (1969), the New Image Association (1962), and most prominently, the Korean Avant-Garde Association (1970). Seung-taek Lee has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Grand Prize at the 2nd Space Art Award Exhibition (1977), the DongA Arts Award (1978), the Nam June Paik Art Center International Art Award (2009), and the Korean Ministry of Culture’s Eunkwan Award (2014). Lee’s works are in several collections including Tate Modern, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (MMCA), Seoul Museum of Art, Rachofsky Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, and the Nam June Paik Art Center, Yongin.

Eglė Budvytytė: Songs from the compost: mutating bodies, imploding stars 

Beginning Friday, February 3, the lower level of Canal Projects will show Lithuanian artist Eglė Budvytytė’s Songs from the compost: morphing bodies, imploding stars (2020). The video work, created in conjunction with Marija Olšauskaitė and Julija Lukas Steponaitytė, explores consciousness, human and non-human entanglements, symbiosis, degradation, and renewal.

The film, which was shot in the pine forests and dunes of the Curonian Spit, featured a primarily local cast. The performance is accompanied by a specially composed song, choreography, and costumes. A mesmerizing voice speaks lyrics inspired by researcher Lynn Margulis and science fiction author Octavia Butler. The choreography undoes the verticality of the human figure, unfurling it into the landscape, so that the performers’ bodies are continually drawn toward the earth and toward each other as they move through the forest, along the dunes, and on the lake.

Supported by: Nida Art Colony, 4Cs -From conflict to conviviality through culture, Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA2), Mondriaan Fund, Netherlands Film Fund, Lithuanian Council for Culture.

Egl Budvytyt (b. 1981) lives and works in Vilnius and Amsterdam, focusing on the interface of visual and performing arts. She considers movement and gesture to be technologies for subverting normativity, gender and social roles, and the prevailing narratives that control public spaces. Her work investigates the persuasive power of collectivity, vulnerability, and the permeable relationships between bodies, audiences, and settings through song, poetry, film, and performance. Her work has been shown at the Whitechapel Gallery in London (2022), the Venice Biennale in Venice (2022), the Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Latvia (2020), the Renaissance Society in Chicago (2018), the South London Gallery (2018), and the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014), among others.

Canal Projects
351 Canal St
New York, NY 10013
United States
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 12–6pm

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