Moka Lee: Innuendo

2 September - 14 October 2023
‘I want to confuse people with my paintings. I want them to think maybe it is a photography from afar and recognize it is a painting after seeing it closely- and when they look closely, I want to make sure that it is unsure whether the work is on canvas or paper. I would like it if people thought my paintings could be painted by both male and female artists. I meant my paintings to be filled with these little dualities. This way, the way you understand a painting can always be renewed and kept fresh.’ – Moka Lee

Jason Haam is pleased to announce Innuendo a solo exhibition of new paintings by a Korean artist, Moka Lee. The show, which will be the artist’s inaugural solo exhibition with the gallery, will open on the September 2nd and remain on view through the October 10th. 


Sophisticated in technique and trivial in subject matter, Lee’s paintings blend seriousness and superficiality in a unique manner. Her figures-mostly female and often much larger than the figures in life-are images of figures found on social media. In staged narratives, they combine excitement and solemnity, beauty and intensity, and innocence and impurity. The contradicting disparity –as stated by the title of the exhibition-is ever-present in Lee’s oeuvre.


All ten paintings in the show are reflective of artist’s reveries on identity and persona. She attempts to extract a dialogue between the factual and presented reality. While still borrowing images on social media, Lee creates a narrative and stages them with her painterly aura. The subject matters may vary but the works share conceptual intention in describing what is communal to all, yet only evident to everyone through interpretation of the artist.


Lee is a spectator of her works. The narrative, which presents an omniscient point of view to the viewers, is spoken by one or multiple directional gazes within the work and it ultimately ends with the gaze of a viewer- ‘thinking about me’. The figures which are inexplicably connected to the artist’s identity speak to viewers constantly and encourage them to ponder about their beings and only then, the artist’s objectives are immaculately enfranchised.


Moka Lee has had a solo presentation with Jason Haam at Art Basel Hong Kong 2023 and this exhibition marks as her debut solo exhibition with the gallery. She has taken part in group exhibitions, such as ThisWeekendRoom, Seoul, Korea; Chapter II, Seoul, Korea; Chang Ucchin Museum of Art, Yangju, Korea. Lee was awarded the DDP Prize at Asian Students and Young Artists Art Festival held in Seoul, Korea. She lives and works in Seoul, South Korea, where she obtained BFA from Sejong University and is currently studying painting at the Korea National University of Arts.