Mandy El-Sayegh & Lee Bul
A recombinant organism is one that retains biological material from its parents—but recombinant DNA refers to an artificial sequence. Both those strains are on view in “Recombinance,” a joint exhibition of multimedia works by Mandy El-Sayegh and Lee Bul at Lehmann Maupin.
Bul’s “Perdu” series explores the rupture of the biological by the artificial, combining media such as mother of pearl and plastic-based acrylic paint to make cyborg bodies. Perdu XLVIII (2020), for instance, depicts a pearlescent creature with crenellated, shell-like edges, standing atop three spindly legs. El-Sayegh’s diptych collage Proofs (nicaragua) (2021) seems to peer out at the viewer like a pair of irises—but a closer look reveals that the black pupil shapes are actually imprints of the artist’s own buttocks, imploring us to think about the ways that the human body, specifically female bodies, are made and unmade.
Lee Bul, Perdu LXXIX, 2021. Mother of pearl, acrylic paint on wooden base panel, steel frame, 62.99 x 43.31 x 2.36 inches. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London.