• Yona Lee

Propositions introduces Yona Lee’s practice to the conventions and characteristics of the digital world. Using 3D animation software and her own travel photographs, Lee has created a series of short animations in which her characteristic installations navigate environments both mundane and extraordinary around the world.

The result of a 2020 Artist Residency at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, the artwork can be viewed online at

Lee is known for her elaborate, site-specific installations that respond to and complicate our engagement with urban and domestic environments.

Using stainless steel tubing and everyday objects, her labyrinthine structures encourage us to consider the frameworks – literal and figurative – that shape our interaction with public and private space.

Propositions responds to the challenge of making site-specific work in a paradoxically hyper-mobile and almost entirely immobilised world with humour and imagination. Travelling between museums and non-descript hotel rooms, trains and buses, swimming pools and street scenes, the apparent utilitarian function of Lee’s structures is troubled by their disregard for the human occupation of space.

At the Museum of Modern Art in New York, a steel pipe grows in front of Monet’s Water Lilies, working itself into a bind before sprouting a lantern from its top. Outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Lee’s snaking yellow and grey tubes blend almost seamlessly into the building’s iconic facade. Conditions of intimacy and distance connect, collide and are negotiated throughout Propositions, inviting a close relationship with multiple perspectives, geographies and temporalities.

Propositions will be updated every month for the duration of the exhibition. Visit to view the artwork.


Yona Lee lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand, and completed her MFA at Auckland University Elam School of Fine Arts in 2010. Lee’s work has recently been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions including the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, New Zealand; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; Te Tuhi, Auckland, New Zealand; and Westspace, Melbourne, Australia. Her work has featured in thematic exhibitions including the 2020 Busan Biennale, Busan, South Korea (2020); 15th Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France (2019); and Changwon Sculpture Biennale, Seoul, South Korea (2016). She undertook residencies at SeMA Nanji and Geumcheon Art Space, Seoul, South Korea in 2016, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand in 2020, and will be resident at Cité internationale des arts, Paris, France and Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, the Netherlands in 2021-2022.

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre Artist Residency Programme 2020 supports three artists to undertake month-long residencies in their own homes and studios.

Outcomes of these residencies will be presented by the Gallery over 2020 and 2021. The programme is supported by Creative New Zealand and New Plymouth District Council.

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