Sammy Lee

With a peripatetic upbringing, my personal idea of identity is an amalgamation of fragments from various places, rather than any one specific narrative. My creative practice reflects this as a result, balancing primarily two modes of art making: one is bookbinding, and the other is joomchi, a traditional Korean technique of beating papers to create collages. Both processes involve paper and are intensely time consuming – book making requires 3D engineering, building maquettes, and fabricating multiples; joomchi calls for equally laborious hours of pounding and kneading to record creases, crinkles, and lines in layers of papers.  

But the similarities are outweighed by the antithetical nature these processes. Book making is often more intentional and methodical while the act of joomchi is more spontaneous and uninhibited. Narratives are “written” and “bound” in book making, while stories are “released” and “deconstructed” in joomchi works. Despite the apparent contradiction, practicing and balancing both art forms is essential to my practice. Through the materiality of paper, I discover stories embedded within its subtle, often unnoticed details. These are the stories I seek to highlight in my work.