22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Suzy Lee

Suzy Lee was born in Seoul in 1974 and studied painting and book arts at the Seoul National University in Korea and at the Camberwell College of Arts in the U.K.

The specific appeal of her usually wordless picture books lies in the reduced narrative concept and the combination of Asian and Western illustrative art. The innovative, inter-medial approach typical of her work can be seen in her first picture book »Alice in Wonderland« (2002), the illustrations in which are photographs of miniature theatre sets. »There are always certain subject matters or images I wish to deal with in my books someday. They are only fragments of ideas at first – e.g. horizontal shapes of a book, a stage, a dazzling cyan-colour, crisp shadows, a book about a book, 2-colour prints, flat surface of the pages […] and so on. They don’t seem to be related to each other, but suddenly all of them turn into a book.« Her picture book »The Zoo« (2004) is about the difference between adults’ and children’s perceptions. What starts out as a typical family outing turns into a small girl’s fantasy journey. Coloured double pages illustrating the girl’s imaginative interchange with the grey-toned depictions of the parents’ impressions of events as they search among the enclosures for their vanished daughter, finally finding her asleep on a bench. Childlike curiosity and the confrontation with existential questions such as »Who am I?« run through Suzy Lee’s work like leitmotifs, whether in the encounter with one’s own mirror reflection and the clash of reality and distorted reflection in »Mirror« (2003), or the adventures of a young girl at the beach in her most recent book, »Wave« (2008). Her protagonist in »Wave« approaches water with curiosity and is drawn into a playful, provocative, surprising dance with the waves. Through the comedy inherent in the situations, and the child’s emotions reflected in the multi-layered illustrations (which are actually all in blue), Suzy Lee presents a story about the power of nature, the human experience of overestimating oneself, and the child’s interest in experiencing boundaries.

Her picture book »Wave« (2008) was chosen for the New York Times’ »Best Illustrated Children’s Book 2008« and for a »Gold Medal« for »Original Art 2008« by the Society of Illustrators. Suzy Lee lives with her family in Singapore.

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