I Hate and I Love: A Beautiful Longing and Silent Hatred for Imperfection
“Ōdī et amō (I hate and I love)” is a line written by the Roman poet Catullus, which is part of a short poem sent to his lover Lesbia. The verbalization of the uncontrollable feeling of simultaneously hating and loving relates to the inevitable imperfection addressed in this exhibition.
Bo Lee’s work is a mixture of conflicting values such as the material and immaterial, commercial aspirations and the pursuit of pure art. He channels into his work the ambiguity of self-identity he developed as a child of first-generation American immigrants, and his ironical identity as both a businessman and artist. <The Poor Shop> showcased in this exhibition is an installation interpreting variations of ‘poverty’ in a shop, a virtual space where poverty and wealth are reproduced. This serves as a real shop that sells goods and works of art without boundaries. The work depicting strange contradictions, such as selling to buy and destroying to make, is visualized on the merchandise stand. <Baked> shows Bo Lee’s autobiography on a very personal timeline: what has happened in the past, what is under way, and what is to be accumulated in the future. The artist burned diaries sheet by sheet, which he had kept for years, and collected the ashes to sort them into glass bottles by the year. The glass bottles are placed on a scale and numbered by the weight of life he has experienced.
Bo Lee tries to show the imperfection and subjectivity of time more effectively through the diversification of media. While he mainly adopts media as an effective device to show the nature of his work, he attempts to diversify his choice of media such as painting and graffiti from the point in time when the theme deepens in his life. He found a variety of devices through which different emotions and ideas can penetrate each other so that the inner gaze can reach the external. <Baked_Video_Title Undecided> recorded the act in <Baked>, which overcomes imperfection by burning, and subtitled the video with aesthetic metaphors. <Ephemeral altar> is a work that cannot be preserved permanently, rendering the temporary dignity of things that are discarded. In this manner, Bo Lee can calmly confront his own imperfect duality at the very moment when his world expands, a moment that can hardly be distinguishable by genre.
This is not a story limited to the artist. Exploration of an obsessive past underneath the tension of an imperfect calm in the present and the act of watching the future that ignites—this is a very ordinary routine for everyone. René Girard said, “A subject who desires always reveals a social structure that is bound to have a desire based on the exchange value.” Indeed, many idols and forms of external mediation are not perfect beings because the object we desire is not a being but an ideal. The desire that stimulates ambivalence within us is neither absolute violence nor unsullied innocence.
This exhibition shows the trajectory of life in its raw form, which repeats desires and failures as one goes through the opaque and contradictory days. Bo Lee wants all those who face life to live as subjects seeking to find answers on their own, without being trapped by time and regulations, and at the same time as active beings that filter out desires. He also hopes that his personal journey will become a small milestone for those who hold their breath like a foal before its first run.
Ji sun Yim,Independent Curator
 C. Valerius Catullus, 『Poem 85』
 Rene Girard, Mensonge romantique et Vérité romanesque, Korean translation, 2001, p.29-30
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