Korean born artist Jae Hoon Lee moved to the United States in 1993 to study sculpture at the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute. Since immigrating to New Zealand a decade ago to pursue further study, Lee has become recognized for his complex multifaceted photographs and video works, yet continues to approach his subjects in primarily sculptural terms. His latest work, created for Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, represents the closest assimilation of his sculptural and photographic processes to date.
The exhibition, Tomb, showcases work developed from the artist’s recent trip to Egypt, particularly focusing on the tourist trade in history and memory. Reflecting Egypt’s conflation of death and tourism, Jae Hoon Lee makes personal audio recordings of festivals in Egypt which play inside a readymade coffin, bringing festivities back into the last rites. His photographic works, titled Tomb (2007–2008), reflect on one of the oldest monuments known to man, the pyramid, which is morphed and duplicated into two menacing figures.