[Art Rabbits] Artist - Soojo Lee

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

Soojo Lee was born is Moscow, Russian. She is currently studying for her Master degree at Tokyo University of the Arts. She focuses on the history of East Asian photography development, photography theory and practice. Soojo Lee’s work is mostly based on the exploration of ethnic culture.

Soojo’s series Across the Mount Sumeru (2018 - 2021) based on Indian gods and her migration experience with her grandparents. Her ancestors Tatar people are like migratory birds, lived a nomadic life. They fought with the barren nature for survival. In her photographs, people look so small and vulnerable against the vast and continuous mountains. The figures of people are small and blur, just like ants crawling on the paper. Viewers cannot see their face expressions, but can feel their tough spirit. The crescent moon or full moon are omens from god or ancestors, they lead people, connect past and future. The river and lake in mountains are similar to galaxies in astrophotography, which enlarge and mystify the mountains, or can be seen as a portal connecting god world and human world.

Across the Mountain Sumeru #01, 2020 ©️Soojo Lee

Across the Mountain Sumeru #02 - Yin and Yang 01, 2019 ©️Soojo Lee

Across the Mountain Sumeru #12, 2021 ©️Soojo Lee

Two important symbols in her series Shaman’s Eyes (2020 - 2021) are trees and eyes. In Shaman’s legend, the world was born from a huge tree called ‘World Tree’. Then she points her camera at the trees, as a method of peeking the origin of the world. There is no human or animal eyes in her photos. Instead, ripple or vortex on water surface, a small pit on the ground, or even a dead bird wrapped in a piece of white cloth has the shape of eyes. They are not real eyes, but they have the power of appeal dragging viewers through the centre into the other side of the world - spiritual world.

Shaman's Eyes #05 - Natural Aura 03, 2020 ©️Soojo Lee

Shaman's Eyes #07 - Eye of River, 2020 ©️Soojo Lee

Her recent series City Circle and West of the Ural Mountains turn the spotlight on cities of Japan and Russia. In Tokyo, there is a maglev train travels around an artificial island, which is occupied by modern buildings and factories. The construction of the island can be seen as a microcosm of urbanisation. Soojo uses her camera to record views alongside the maglev train line. West of the Ural Mountains is her project in cities located on the west side of Ural Mountains. For her, people’s lifestyle in these cities are more like a fusion of European and Soviet culture. She wants to objectively depict with her camera what happened on this land, and break the glorified or vilified stereotypes from other countries of Eurasia.

ゆりかもめ沿線考040, 2021 ©️Soojo Lee

RU01 (34), 2021 ©️Soojo Lee

Exhibitions and Awards:

2019.09 Atlas Group Exhibition, Tokyo University of the Arts, Toride, Japan

2020.12 "野渡须弥山(Across the Mount Sumeru)", Tokyo Book Fair, Tokyo, Japan

2021.03 "Shaman's Eyes", 23rd “1_WALL” photography , Judges’ Encouragement Prizes, Tokyo, Japan

2021.05 "Across the Mount Sumeru"Exhibition, Totem Pole Photo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

2021.08 "Visible Cocklebur"Group Exhibition, Rabbit Hutch Photography, Adelaide, Australia

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