Artist transforms small studio into stunning dreamscapes

JeeYoung Lee
Artist JeeYoung Lee's work, 'Flu.'

Countless design books and blogs have been devoted to finding creative ways to decorate small spaces. But South Korean artist Jee Young Lee took that concept about five steps further when she decided to turn her tiny studio into massive-looking works of art.

JeeYoung Lee
Anxiety

Lee’s works, which go on display at the Opiom Gallery in Opio, France, in February, show how the artist is able to reinvent a small space to resemble everything from a forest to a boat, even though the studio measures a paltry 360 by 410 centimeters — roughly 12 feet by 13 feet.

JeeYoung Lee
Neverending Race

And there’s one extra thing to look for in each of Lee’s magnificent creations – the artist herself! Just as Hitchcock made a cameo in each of his movies, Lee puts herself somewhere in each one of her pieces. The artist, who won the prestigious Sovereign Prize in 2012, melds performance art, photography, and visual art in her work.

JeeYoung Lee
Treasure Hunt

More than simply being beautiful, though, Lee’s creations hint at something bigger. “It is never her visual aspect she shows, but rather her quest for an identity, her desires and her frame of mind,” the Opiom gallery says in their notes on her exhibition. “Her imagination is a catharsis.”

  • Slideshow Photos

    Courtesy of OPIOM Gallery

    Artist turns studio into surreal dreamscapes

    Korean artist JeeYoung Lee transformed a small studio into a living art space.

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    Fantasy meets reality -

    South Korean artist Jee Young Lee has turned her small studio into stunning works of art. In this beautiful nature-inspired work, "Sweet appetite," there’s color in abundance.

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    Reaching for the star -

    This precarious pose – a ladder surrounded by paper cups and glass marbles – represents the idea of going after your dreams.

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    Resurrection -

    This piece, “Resurrection,” includes a lotus flower, a common theme in Buddhist theology.

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    Childhood -

    Classic symbols like a rocking horse and pinwheels represent the sweetness and joy of childhood.

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    Birthday -

    This one was Lee’s birthday present to herself.

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    Broken heart -

    Here, Lee used broken eggs to symbolize her own broken heart.

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    Black birds -

    This is eerily reminiscent of the iconic Hitchcock film “The Birds.”

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    Food chain -

    In this piece, Lee expressed herself with painted sticks that looked like wires and revealed her belly to show she’s part of the process.

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    Flu -

    When Lee wasn’t feeling well, she turned it into a work of art called “Flu.”

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    Monsoon season -

    The boat theme is back again, but this time Lee is trying to escape from a monsoon.

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    Gamer -

    What could be more fun than a life-size Lego set to play with?

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    I'll be back -

    Based on a popular Korean folktale, this work depicts a person who is pulled into a trap but never loses hope of getting out.

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    Last supper -

    Eek! Don’t worry – those mice aren’t real. Neither is the cheese, unfortunately.

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    Maiden voyage -

    In this piece, Lee created a little boat out of paper.

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    My chemical romance -

    This piece was inspired by pipes and construction in Lee’s neighborhood – she felt like she was running an obstacle course when she went outside.

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    Neverending race -

    Here, Lee makes herself not just part of the art but part of the game.

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    Nightmare -

    What’s your worst nightmare? Here, Lee gives us a clue what hers might be.

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    Nightscape -

    And here’s the flip side – a room that looks like one of Lee’s dreams.

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    Treasure hunt -

    The artist reminds herself that you should never stop searching.

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    Oversleeping -

    In this piece, the artist warns of what could happen if you oversleep.

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    Panic room -

    This funhouse-style interior is dubbed "Panic Room," but the wild space could also be seen as playful.

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    This is not enough -

    Lee, who has been said to disappear into her work, took that concept and made it into a design.

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    Toxic boy -

    Layers of paint make the studio seem as if it is made of wood.

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    Raw -

    Lee takes herself out for a fancy dinner in this flower-inspired piece.

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    The best cure -

    It seems that the cure is … candy.

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    Little match girl -

    This creation, “The Little Match Girl,” was inspired by the famous Hans Christian Andersen story of the same name.

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    Anxiety -

    Lee’s works sometimes represent abstract ideas or feelings. This one is “anxiety.” She gives the impression of anxiety through objects that appear to weigh a lot and tiny bubbles to represent thoughts.

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