In the exhibition Face Play, on view at SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery through May 24, Inhye Lee shares her fascination with faces by re-purposing familiar ideas from childhood memories, and transforming ordinary objects into a playground of imagination. As children, we all made silly doodles on face photos. We added a mustache, widened nostrils, enlarged eyes, and tried to deform the familiar identity into something else. This face play always seems to evolve into a new form and never ceases to influence people to be creative.
Lee’s visual musical instruments utilize facial features and human emotion as key elements. Piano: Face Jumble explores the connectedness and circulation of human emotions, highlighted by sharing the resemblance among different people. This piece is influenced by a die-cut book, a classic children’s book format that connects one page to the next via a hole, a gateway to connect separate dimensions. Piano: Face Jumble goes beyond the confinement of a book’s connected pages by borrowing the form of a musical instrument.
In her work, Face Book With a Hole: Family Tree, Lee seeks to visualize the lineage of family members, also by employing the format of a “book with a hole”. The first specimen of this project is the Kim-Choe family. They have produced two children in their marriage, hence connecting two distinct families by blood. Pictures of their extended family are gathered and made into a sequence of faces through holes that exhibit the linkages between them. Lee is intending to continue this project as an ongoing series to trace back and connect more families.