59 I n her tiny 3.6-by-6-by-2.4-meter Seoul studio, artist Lee Jee-young has been constructing and capturing her own dreamscapes without the luxury of outside help. This means no other contributors and, a more rare occurrence these days, no Photoshop (or any other kind of digital manipulation, for that matter). Blurring the lines between mediums, she packs a multilayered punch that combines painting, sculpture, installation, theatrical performance, videography and staged analogue photography. Netizens with an eye for the ethereal were blown away last year when the Web was flooded with images from her photographic series “Stage of Mind,” which was exhibited at Opiom Gallery in France this year. The Hongik University graduate says she chooses not to use Photoshop because of her personal art philoso- phy. And although she does get a kick out of people’s disbelief, she says that what is more important to her, and hopefully the viewer, is the subject matter. Another fundamental component to the artist is the reflective yet laborious task of installing and taking apart her surreal and fantastic creations. “The final format is photography, but to me the making and the breaking process is an integral part of my work. My work always portrays my mental condition at the time. I recreate the imaginary scenery from my mental landscape, record and document. After that I destroy the set, returning it to nothing, or something of the past.” Working since 2007, Lee has officially released the original 4-by-5-inch large-format film camera photo- graphs of 27 of these artistic elucidations, each set taking at least two months to complete. Unsurprisingly, her biggest challenge is the time limitation, but that’s the price to pay when recreating, completely by hand, a tableau that is only otherwise visible in the mind. These mindscapes, sometimes whimsical and other times of a more somber nature, are an exploration into Lee’s head. “In my work, I reconstruct my feelings. The background props and objects in them reenact these scenes in a metaphorical way,” she says. “My work is about sublimating my complicated emotions into a form of art. From a personal level it helps me analyze and understand ‘me,’ and often then I feel healed.” Besides the fact that she is the artist, the presence of Lee herself in most of the photographs further dis- Only in dreams ‘Stage of Mind’ artiSt Lee Jee-young recreateS fantaSticaL iMagerieS Story by Remy Raitt Photos courtesy of Lee Jee-young