Haleen Lee: Alien Monument

Haleen Lee

Artwork’s Title: Alien Monument
Material Used: Oil on Canvas
Studio Based: Weissensee, Berlin Germany
Haleen Lee, Alien Monument, 2022, Oil on Canvas, 210 x 150 cm

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

Firstly, selecting previously self-taken photos that are captured via iPhone default camera in a digital format or analog film cameras such as 35mm and medium format could help me to set up the “reference” for the main topic of the painting; I constantly change the properties of its pictures (composition, color, figure, etc.), instead of following its decided appearance.
Second, I start to cover the white canvases in different sizes with different colors and they need to be prepared at once for a rapid and efficient procedure, due to the long drying time. By putting the background colors, can represent the gloomy effects of the indoor light environment which is particularly derived from natural phenomena with the different timelines depicted. The brightness and saturation of the background color can also provide the flavors of the upper layer depending on the contradiction, whether it has to be brighter or darker.
When every color once gets dried, I go with sketches with colored pencils by marking the formats precisely, then I fill up the upper colors individually. Here is my own one rule: every upper layer shouldn’t cover the background completely, due to the loss of its role play; some of the parts are half transparent and the mainframes of architectures are just raw background color.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Architecture, light, and nature.

Speaking about your new artworks is there any particular story behind the “Alien Monument” (2022) painting that you could share with us?

While I’m mostly focusing on real existentialism when it comes to natural matters in my works besides architecture, I sometimes try to illustrate unrealistic environments that are difficult to comprehend in our world. In this attempt, referring to my other particular interest astronomy, it could help me to bring an attractive opportunity to represent.
A recent thesis by NASA via the Kepler project, they have recently found a new planet “Kepler-1647”, orbiting around a double-star system. Yet this discovery is considered to be an unusual environment, regarding our solar system aside from habitability. Motivated by the following thesis, I was able to portray the landscape theoretically with two suns – one red circle in the middle of the work and reflecting the lights from backward on the other side. The parallel long vertical walls plus the front walls with passage connect to the natural landscape, showing the penetration of view. This construction is motivated by the architecture built by ancient civilizations such as Ancient Egypt, Maya, and Northern American Tribes who have designed with astonishingly precise calculation influence of surroundings such as sun level, constellation, and space circulation.

What’s your relationship with the field of architecture? Many paintings look like a photographic representation of internal as well as external architectural spaces.

Since I was younger, I still had an attraction to any objects with any spatial characteristics. I can’t explain this situation in a specific way, but still brings me many thoughts as well as gives me comfort compared to other themes. Plus, the term ‘space’ could dictate that some things aren’t limited; here we can make anything via various possibilities, especially inside the art world. Therefore, I believe that related spatial concepts are connected to our dream world – unconscious psychological interactions such as the sixth sense, illusion, and emotion. This involves diverse colors, which are derived from different aspects, created by different environments and experiences. The external architectural spaces are constructed as a main body structure, conveying the optical effect to the elemental figure, eventually displaying the complex and moody Structure, then allowing us to feel any emotions directly.

Taking into account the previous question, in your recent works, there is also an evident fascination in the depiction of landscapes; what made you concentrate on this repetitive motif in your body of work?

Among the different parts of the architecture, nowadays, I’m focusing more on an opening structure window, which allows the exchange of light and may also allow the passage of sound and sometimes air. because of this reason, while we are looking for a new house or apartment, this becomes one of the fundamental points to check the room condition if the lights get in properly. Not only does this characteristic of window drags into me, but what I find more important is what places the inner frame alongside the location. For instance, Even though there is a well-made perpendicular window at home, the other side of the building is placed close and covers all, then it couldn’t work as a window giving fine interior condition. That is why based on the Feng Shui theory, The windows in various modern buildings mostly facing to pure natural zones like the seaside, mountains, and forest. this such type of architecture we can always find out from architecture magazines, where most people cannot simply live there – might be the same thing as a wonderland.

Would you be also interested in being artistically involved in different kinds of painting techniques or motifs? For example, more abstract works?

For sure! while I’m doing with figurative ones, some works are now painted abstractly. Further in the future, I’m planning for a sculpture as well, starting with small sizes and then slowly will be increasing.

Do specific artworks have been created by random experiments in your studio or do you usually come up with a particular concept or narrative at the very beginning of your artistic process?

Most of the percentage, I do already have a specific plan in my head, but I used to sketch or draw them first on a small piece of paper or edit via a digital process like photoshop. Despite this certain process, there are sometimes new work styles or some discoveries coming up accidentally, even though I’m not intended to make it. Those happening to make me sometimes have fun, I think that is a fascinating part as an artist!

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

No idealistic methods to display from now on, a classical setup inside the white cube would satisfy me very well.

Which are your plans for the near future?

In the upcoming next semester, I might need to prepare for my exhibition for my graduation with a thesis and presentation at last. Not only this, I will have an upcoming group exhibition in May organized by KUNZTEN, the exhibition space will be at “Kunstrraum Flutgraben” in Kreuzberg. After my graduation, I plan to stay here more in Berlin because I want to find more opportunities in Europe and the USA to have efficient connections through better proximity. And of course, being active in South Korea is essential for my career.

Additional Paintings

Haleen Lee, Further seeing on Desert, 2022, Oil on Canvas, 220 x 145 cm
Haleen Lee, Cooper’s Ship, 2022, Oil on canvas, 180 x 130 cm
Haleen Lee, Casa Malaparte, 2022, Oil on Canvas, 385 x 185 cm
Haleen Lee, Geomancy, 2021, Oil on Canvas, 200 x 160 cm
Haleen Lee, What makes us comfy? – The principle of algorithm, 2022, Oil on canvas, 34 x 25 cm each



All images courtesy of the artist

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