Moka Lee South Korea, b. 1996

Moka Lee (b. 1996) paints the portraits of young women, culled from her archive of images found on social media. In the current digital age where the objectification and commodification of images allow both intimate and distant reflections of oneself—Lee explores the complexities of identity, sexuality, and the male gaze in a post-Internet society.
Emphasizing a voyeuristic tendency developed from society’s consuming online presence, Lee imbues her subjects with a Lolita-esque innocence, characterized by an air of frivolity. As Lee’s figures are often anonymous, the artist freely dismantles and reclaims the boundaries between public and private personas—capturing the subtle nuances of seeing and being seen through a filtered lens.
Through this process of re-contextualization, Lee reclaims a sense of autonomy from a society that consumes and just as easily discards visual information. As the artist is now in control over what is presented, she has reversed the male gaze into her own—we now view her subjects through the artist, as how she meant them to be seen. The objective is to be seen, but also to say—I see you, seeing me—the ultimate Foucauldian statement.
Moka Lee lives and works in Seoul, South Korea, where she is currently studying painting at the Korea National University of Arts.