After Bruno Taut (Negative Capability), 2008
South Korean, 1964
crystal, glass, and acrylic beads on stainless steel armature with aluminum and copper mesh, with chains made of PVC, steel, and aluminum
274.3 x 296.4 x 213.4 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 42370)
Photo © NGC
As referenced in the title, the visionary ideals of Bruno Taut (1880-1938) provide a foundation for this work, specifically his lyrical 1917 text "Alpine Architektur". The early-20th-century German architect proposed a utopian city built of glass superlatively set within nature and the cosmos. Lee Bul has translated Taut's vision as an ornate sculpture rendered in lengths of mass-produced jewellery, including chains, crystal, glass, and acrylic beads. The towering upper armature reveals an unmistakable reference to Vladimir Tatlin's (1885-1953) unrealized "Monument to the Third International". Simultaneously delicate and industrial, Bul's spectacular shimmering sculpture points to the failed dreams of modernity and its global economic fault lines.