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Painting with Photography: JeeYoung Lee

A photograph of a woman playing in a room filled with giant legosGamer, pigment print

JeeYoung Lee is a Korean artist who makes a practice out of painting with photography. Rather than taking photographs of existing scenes, Lee dreams up bizarre, imaginative, images and sets which she then builds and photographs. The result is like getting to look inside the artist’s dreams.


A photo of a young woman almost hidden in a dreamlike set of lily padsResurrection, pigment print

I love how Lee places herself in all of these photographs, essentially making them self-portraits within her own dreams or fragmented, fabricated memories. There is something very theatrical about this process, not only in the dedication that Lee shows in several weeks to construct the set for a single photograph. In photographing herself in the spaces she solidifies a personal connection and enacts the remembering or dreaming process, only inviting viewers in to share it.


Lee has received many awards in Korea and internationally, and her works became something of an internet sensation after images of her first solo show outside of Korea made it onto Reddit.  

A photo of a set made of yellow and black striped plumbing with a girl working amongst the pipesMy Chemical Romance, pigment print

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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