Jae Hoon Lee’s Tilting the Horizon features new works made during his 2019-20 Tylee Cottage Residency awarded by the Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui. It was here Lee utilised new drone photography techniques to document our landscape, ones often implicated in surveillance, surveying, war, cinema and real estate.
A South Korean immigrant who lived in America before moving to Aotearoa, Lee’s images offer the unique perspective of an artist who views the landscapes and cultures of New Zealand from a position simultaneously inside and outside. His work embellishes and complicates images of the environments he encounters on his frequent travels. The artist notes: “I become a performer, in multidirectional movements, navigating different cultures by capturing environmental textures from many different living territories.”
Lee’s mastery of digital assemblage produces seamless, compelling composites from a multitude of source photographs and although the work typically hovers at the threshold of believability, artworks such as Sunset-Whanganui (2020) celebrate their apparent artifice. Oscillating between the real and imagined, Lee’s most recent work confidently tilts towards the latter.
Tilting the Horizon may evoke a sense of the liminal or numinous for some – even a feeling of vertigo. Lee’s treatment of photographic space and time reflect an interest in creating new topologies and ways of seeing. His latest work suggests he is tilting more than the lens, but also the horizon of contemporary imaging and his own imagination.