Robert Frank once described the fragmentary, poetic images of New York–based photographer Jungjin Lee (born 1961) as “landscapes without the human beast.
” In this series, Lee captures the American southwest and transforms it with liquid light and diluted light-sensitive emulsions to create images that are as uncontrollable and natural as the landscape she depicts. Desert comprises four series of works (each bound as a separate book and presented in a unique slipcase), all of which contain monochromatic images of arid lands. Stratigraphy etched into rock faces, massive stones, cave-like precipices and anthropomorphic fauna showcase an extensive compendium of the desert’s many faces and textures. Each image focuses on the landscape’s formal qualities, eschewing human presence, simultaneously evoking late 19th-century photography, while epitomizing the stark modernity of Lee’s lens. “As a photographer,” writes Lee, “I am primarily concerned with the unconscious, the unknown, and the invisible.”
Published by Spector Books. Text by Lena Fritsch, Hester Keijser, Liz Wells.
In the early 1990s various trips took Jungjin Lee into the endless expanse of America, where she captured archaic, primal images of deserts, rocks, undergrowth, and cactuses. Drawing on her South Korean heritage, the artist developed a highly unique pictorial language in series such as Ocean, On Road, Pagodas, Things, and Wind, in which her fundamental interest in nature and culture is expressed in a space of poetic resonance. In her work, Jungjin Lee taps her profound understanding for materiality, texture, and craftsmanship. Working with Liquid Light, she applies photosensitive emulsion onto rice paper with a coarse brush. The publication presents eleven groups of works, commentated and contextualized in essays by Lena Fritsch, Hester Keijser, and Liz Wells–providing, for the very first time, an overview of an oeuvre spanning two decades.