Sabrina Amrani is pleased to present XOXO, comet boy, Timothy Hyunsoo Lee’s third solo exhibition at the gallery.
The character of the comet boy was born out of Timothy’s frustration with his realization that he, as an artist, was merely a vessel for production; life is short, everyone is meant to die; and ultimately, as a human he could not even breach the essence of spirituality – why we find wonder, emotions, beauty, and pain in this world. The comet boy emerges from this anxiety as a spiritual messiah that is autobiographical in nature but also universally relatable.
The works presented in XOXO, comet boy use the imagery of masks, and the process of masking and revealing, to narrate a story about the power structures that form an individual’s identity – that of sexuality, religion, and racial politics. As such, the concept of borders pervades the works. Literal borders, and borders of the mind, of the body, and of one’s comfort – all confine an individual to an identity they must either claim as their own or reject.
Ultimately, the comet boy is revealed to be a mask of the artist himself; bestowing personal and cultural traumas to a fictional character as a way of reinventing and re-narrating memories, lived experiences, and his own sense of identity. The comet boy is an investigator and instigator; he confronts the paradoxes of Lee’s life and, removed from having lived those experiences, objectively reassembles memories in an attempt to resolve the many conflicting hemispheres of thought contained within.
The character confronts the artist’s human anxieties -love, dreams, desires, and fears- from a more universal perspective: what do all these mortal concerns mean in the context of death? Once the inevitable and unidirectional trajectory of a life is realized, then borders cease to exist: borders on religion, identity, sexuality, borders of skin, of life, of migration. The comet boy is an ideal vehicle for the artist to explore and address these universal anxieties in this exhibition.