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Studio SML/k~ Colorado
(Sammy Lee)

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Sammy Seung-Min Lee: "Resulting from a peripatetic upbringing, my personal idea of 'home' is an amalgamation of fragments from various places, rather than any one specific location. I have learned to construct spaces abstractly through various discrete elements: whether it be a certain lighting condition, a type of opening, or the texture of particular materials. These transport me back to spaces with specific memories in time. I cherish the stories embedded within each of these subtle, often unnoticed details, and I seek to bind these spatial qualities and pieces of memories in my work."

Collaborative artist books  
Three Willows Bindery
By Sammy Seung-Min Lee
Denver, Colorado: Studio SML/k, 2013. Edition of 125.

9.5 x 7.5"; 62 pages. Folded pages. Die cut, laser cut and hand bound. Printed by HP Indigo printer. Bound in paper-covered angled boards with a paper cutting adhered illustration on front board. Exposed sewn binding at top edge.

This book documents a project Sammy Lee did when a graduate student in architecture.

Sammy Lee: "My proposed design had a bookbindery, artist studios, and a community space. When I designed this building project … this lot was considered "cursed" by the locals. There were an Asian grocery market and an adult media store hidden behind a billboard that always featured beer commercials. The land was covered with overgrown weeds, potholes, and trash. Despite its desolate condition at that time, I noticed three willow trees in the center lot, and felt somehow connected to the land and wanted to reinvigorate the site.

"There are many notions of three in this book. The land had overall a triangular shape, three willow trees, the building and the site incorporated three different flows of traffic — pedestrians, motorists, cyclists – and the project was for three women tenants (me and two friends). In the book, the idea of three is explored by three different shapes of sheets, three sections per viewing, and three pleats. Also there are images such as three willows, three friends, three mailboxes in the book. The shape of the book is the actual shape of the building site."

Sammy Lee, general statement: "[Three Willows Bindery] documents the personal narrative of discovering and reinvigorating a forgotten space. The book is comprised of three different types of geometric pages, varying in shape and size. Collated and bound together, the pages' contents can expand and interact in multiple permutations based on their folds, much like a map can be refolded in various ways. In addition to showing different views of the space, the pleats of the pages also resemble the topography of the land: the overall shape of the book mirrors the site."

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Picture Windows
By Sammy Seung-Min Lee
poems by Thordis Niela Simonsen
Denver, Colorado: Studio SML/k, 2011. Edition of 3.

10 x 10.5", 28 pages. Free-end pages of Illusion Film. Bound in plexi-glass covers with wire edge binding. Intaglio, monoprint, and monotype printing processes. Design and binding by Sammy Seung-Min Lee.

Studio SML/k: "Artist book edition about personal perspective, with poems by Thordis Simonsen."

Sammy Lee: "Noticing the bold geometric silhouettes on various window coverings, I was struck one day by their alignment with adjacent exteriors – how they perfectly echoed shapes on, say, a nearby building or hedge. It was apparent that the artisans behind these grids had methodically created them to resemble existing surroundings, and I wondered if I did something similar when shaping my own outlook. Reminded of routine tendencies to seek the similar, this book thus explores the process of looking beyond traditional confines, searching for the new and unfamiliar".
$1,500 (Last Copy)

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Collaborative book projects

Sammy Lee investigates and experiments with spatial, narrative, and sequential qualities of the book. She carries this into collaborative projects with other Korean artists.

Mãyã-bheda, Kolkata during Durga Puja
By Sammy Seung-Min Lee and Joshua Bergeron
Denver, Colorado: Studio SML/k, 2016. Edition of 30.

5.25"W x 7.5"D x 5.5"H case made with binder's board, a photographic filter, book cloth, tyvek, leather, tassels, magnetic closure, and Kodak film spools. Includes pamphlet (6" x 4"; 8 pages; sewn binding) with an essay by Joshua Bergeron. 33 double-sided photo panels with tyvek binding. Tassels attached for handling panels. 27 instagram photos inkjet printed in a scroll called KolCutta Travel Mag. Signed and numbered by the artists.

Sammy Lee: " Mãyã-bheda is the second collaboration on India with Boulder based photographer Joshua Bergeron. The images were taken in October 2015, during the Bengali holiday of Durga Puja, in the capital of West Bengal - Kolkata, India. Using a combination of images from an iPhone as well as a conventional digital point-and-shoot camera, images were captured candidly within the documentary and street photography genre. The construction of the case and interior components are based upon the design of the original Kodak camera released in 1888, by George Eastman, which in many ways brought portable photography to the masses.

"In Hinduism, the term
Mãyã-bheda refers to the destruction of perceived reality. The book serves as a vehicle to examine the assumptions and perceived realities of India for both Bergeron and me. The cameras used for images and the graduated orange lens on the outer shell of the book explores the notions of how India is interpreted by optical tools. For viewers, the interactive viewing experience of the book will offer a chance to examine their own perceived realities of India." (accessed 5/25/2016): "Durga Puja is a celebration of the Mother Goddess, and the victory of the revered warrior Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. The festival honors the powerful female force (shakti) in the Universe. Durga Puja is celebrated in West Bengal, particularly in the city of Kolkata. It's the biggest and most important occasion of the year there.

"The start of the festival sees huge, elaborately crafted statutes of Goddess Durga installed in homes and beautifully decorated podiums all over the city. At the end of the festival, the statutes are paraded through the streets, accompanied by much music and dancing, and then immersed in the water.

"The Durga Puja festival is an extremely social and theatrical event. Drama, dance, and cultural performances are widely held. Food is a huge part of the festival, and street stalls blossom all over Kolkata. In the evenings, the streets of Kolkata fill with people, who come to admire the statues of Goddess Durga, eat, and celebrate."


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By Sammy Seung-Min Lee and Joshua Bergeron
Denver, Colorado: 2015, SML/k Studios. Edition of 30.

6.5 x 4.5 x 3.25" case made with binder's board, a photographic filter, book cloth, leather, camera strap, and magnetic closure. Includes pamphlet (5.9 x 3.9"; 14 pages + Turkish map fold double page; sewn binding) with essays by both artists and map of city. 32 double-sided photo panels with tyvek and thread binding. Signed by the artists. Numbered.

Sammy Lee: "Collaborative artists' book project with Joshua Bergeron, a Boulder-based photographer. …A book with documentary style, thirty-two photos capturing quotidian scenes from the streets of Old Delhi, India.

"The book’s viewing sequence and binding structure are based on the photographer’s trail through the alleys of Old Delhi. Photo panels unfold left, right or sometime both directions, reminding the viewer of his roundabout journey. Rather than a finished photo album or edition, the collapsed book also looks like a casual stack of loose prints, or a pile of raw experiences, contained inside a black case reminiscent of early Kodak Brownie cameras from the 1900s. The shape is a reminder that the work is a vessel, carrying visceral experiences and memories. A strap that attaches to the box adds portability to this effect, allowing the viewer to engage further with the work by wearing it around the neck.

"With no intention to filter the reality of Old Delhi, Bergeron’s immersive images often depict harsh or abject conditions, but with an honesty that is quite beautiful. One cannot help but visualize taking his place, negotiating the tight alleyways saturated with new textures, colors, smells, sounds, and tastes."


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Studio SML/k Out of Print Title:  

The Beads in My Hand
By Sammy Lee
Denver, Colorado: Studio SML/k, 2013. Edition of 10.

6.5 x 6.5 x 1.5" ; 10 panels. Double-sided accordion extending from base of box. Modified flag-page structure. Archival pigment printing on Epson paper. Three folded and overlapping pages with text cut out serves as title page. Bound in cloth-covered boards with inset paper illustration. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Sammy Lee: "There is a Korean proverb I heard as a child: 'It doesn't matter whether you have three bushels of beautiful beads if they are not threaded.' I have collected many 'beads' in my creative and spiritual journey, but I am just beginning to understand the joy that comes from threading these one by one."

A "panorama" structure borrowed from Hedi Kyle, displaying a photo collage of hands with beads on one side and Rainer Maria Rilke's poem "Palm" on the other.
$675 (SOLD)

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Page last update: 07.20.2022

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