A wish is a bid for happiness. The act of hoping and wishing continues until happiness is ultimately satisfied. Satisfaction will never happen and wishing will need to be done infinitely. Performative sculptures made from materials such as ceramic and paper signify how hope for love and happiness existed in human nature since prehistoric times. The excessive repetitive act of building ceramic pieces and folding paper mimics the act of wish making, becoming a type of ritual drawn from my mixed culture from South Korea and United States. The notion of the futility of hoping is shown through recreating objects or ideas that are related to wish making traditions from childhood such as a wish bone, paper stars, and wishing wells. With dark humor beneath a bright, childlike, and unrefined aesthetic, I criticize the way wishing has not developed along with advanced technology. I see both hope and hopelessness in current issues such as dating apps and the global pandemic. I sympathize with the naïve ambition of people holding such hopes. At the same time, my works reflect on the failures and ongoing trials in finding total happiness. While wish making acts can be the result of vulnerability, it is also a form of encouragement to keep hoping for a better future filled with love and happiness. With partial or full participatory factors in these labor intensive, handmade art works, I try to remind the audience their forgotten innocence and happiness hidden in the dark “adult life.”
Alex Y Lee is an artist born in California and raised in South Korea. Heavily influence from both cultures, she frequently uses traditional materials such as origami and ceramics. Lee recreates objects that were used to make wishes during her childhood through laborious repetition as a response to the absurdity in the outdated style of wish making used even in the current time. Her cynic humor is shown through performative sculptural works to appreciate hope, love, and futility in belief that these are mysteriously fundemental for human beings. Lee earned her BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and MFA from California College of the Arts.