With the aim of a portrayal of femininity that is female centered and free of lookism, RHEE’s installation Seven Sisters refers to inventions that were created in order to control the female body or service the male body. This memorial installation pays tribute to women, who have been oppressed, sexually abused, and/or discriminated against because of a global patriarchal misogyny, especially the comfort women who were forced into sexual slavery during the Second World War at the time of Japanese occupation.
In another iteration of the series Seven Sisters, Seven Sisters and the Lotus of Life, the bamboo wives are bound together in a shape that is reminiscent of the lotus flower shape visible in Buddhist temples. The center bamboo wife is multi-colored, while the bamboo wives who make up the six petals are white. The work also refers to the flower of life, a basic sacred geometric shape composed of multiple evenly-spaced, overlapping circles arranged in a flower-like pattern with six-fold symmetry like a hexagon. It is said to contain ancient religious value depicting the fundamental forms of space and time.
“Having been born in one country, grown up in another, and being based in yet another country nowadays, while moving freely between them, [the artist] creates connections – between continents and regional cultural peculiarities, between the past and the present, between the self and the other. The cautious but radical transformation of cultural objects crosses, in a lively debate, the exploration of her own identity and cultural origin, and issues such as gender, migration and global injustice. Proceeding from mythology, Seven Sisters and the Lost Daughter recalls all the forgotten, lost, missing women, girls, mothers, daughters. The bamboo wife, a traditional household item in mostly Asian countries, are objects that are embraced while sleeping in order to enable a cooling process by circulating fresh air that reaches the body. RHEE equips these intimate items with sports visors designed for the modern Korean woman, which serve to protect her from UV radiation in order to preserve a fair complexion – a sign of youthfulness and belonging to a higher social class. Illuminated from the inside, they form a constellation of stars in the darkness that has already been illustrated on the Nebra Sky Disk and can still be seen with the naked eye in the night sky.”
– Marie-Christin Lender, curator, Galerie Wedding