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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"All men are created equal"

JaeWook Lee’s All men are created equal Bullshit (2011) consists of two slide projections of the artist transporting water through his mouth, from shore to river to ground, as he writes Thomas Jefferson’s immortal phrase, “All men are created equal” - to which he adds: bullshit. The artist’s laborious action appears absurd in light of New York City’s shoreline of majestic skyscrapers, emblematic of the overdeveloped city in contrast to the potent struggle of the masses against neo-liberal capitalism. The action blurs distinctions between the experience of art, the art object and the space of art, challenging the city’s control of art in the public space. The fact that the work was written with water also leads to the ephemeral nature of the work, just as contemporary art becomes obsolescent in its organic integration with media culture. Moreover, Lee’s work repeats processes of generating and destroying symbols that are removed from art, reminding us of our aesthetic nature that creates and transforms through beauty and crisis. - Denise Carvalho

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