Tatjana Lee: A Korean-German Contemporary Artist Breaking Boundaries

Tatjana Lee: A Korean-German Contemporary Artist Breaking Boundaries

Interviewer: Meera Shah, Director at Galleria Meera


With 5 solo exhibitions to her name, and countless group exhibitions across the world, Tatjana Lee continues to push the boundaries of her artistic practice. Her latest digital art project, Evolution, explores metarealism. The works use the physiology of the human retina and brain cortex to bring the pieces to life.

We speak to her today about her background, her work and how it speaks to the challenges we currently face.

Meera: Hi Tatjana, thank you for joining us! To begin, I’d love to find out more about your background. You work using such a diverse range of mediums from traditional paintings to NFT art and, more recently, your exploration of metarealism. How did you get started in your career as an artist?

Tatjana: Hi Meera! Art has always been a part of my life. However, it was only after studying medicine, postgraduate studies in PR, and further training in corporate and web design, that I learned to accept art as my calling. I finally realised that during all of my studies, I was trying to find a way to pursue art. From this point on I intensively refocused on the further development of my artistic career through classes at private art academies and mentors.

Meera: How did the idea for the Immortal Series come about?

Immortal 1, 2018

30 x 20 cm


Tatjana: Watching movies with superheroes or supernatural beings made me wonder whether it was desirable to live an immortal life, and if so, what the consequences would be. How would it affect daily life? How would one try to keep memories alive? How would one try to keep their mind alive? Does living lose its meaning for an immortal?

People have always strived for immortality and looked for ways to leave their footprint in infinity. This wish is seldom thought through to the end, because if you set something in relation to infinity, it always strives towards zero. Still, the hope remains that there is some kind of spiritual, immortal existence in the form of a soul.

I think the most meaningful thing I wish to leave behind is the love my family has for me.

Meera: How do you think the Immortal Series relates to the challenges we are facing in the world right now?

Tatjana: During the pandemic many of us lost loved ones, sometimes even without having the opportunity to say goodbye. The subjects of death and mortality suddenly moved into sharp focus. This inevitable confrontation showed how little we know about the process of dying, and how well we have managed to evade it in everyday life. Many topics concerning the human body including childbirth, breastfeeding, sex and menstruation are taboo subjects which are often censored by society to different degrees. This leads to feelings of fear and shame emerging which are often misused to exercise power. The funny fact is that as I try to translate this sentence with google translate, google blocks the page in my browser. Perhaps because of my medical background, being a woman and mother of three daughters, and having to watch close relatives die during the pandemic, I think it is important to accept the physical and mortal elements in our existence and integrate it into our everyday lives.

Meera: So, following from that what is a little-known fact about yourself you would like to share?

I love to do traditional archery with a Korean bow. Archery is a sport that enables you to feel the strong connection between the body and soul. Sleep deprivation or mental distraction becomes visible immediately in the hit pattern on the target. Once the arrow is released, you can feel whether your body and mind are in harmony. This fleeting moment in a time of total focus amazes me.

Meera: Speaking of harmony and balance, do you ever find that your own art making process affects you on an emotional or psychological level? If so, how do you personally deal with it?

Tatjana: I often spend a long time thinking about an idea or topic until it is ready to be implemented. During the creative process, I go through the following stages several times:

This is going to be the best work I have ever created.

This is going to be tricky.

This work is shit.

I am shit.

This is going to be the best work I have ever created…

Over time as an artist, you learn to see these phases of self-doubt as something positive, because this is where the magic happens. This is where the soul finds its way into the work. Without this, it would only be decorative. Sometimes this experience can use a lot of energy, depending on how long it takes to work your way through this process.

It is just as important to learn to let go. Sometimes the work evolves in a different direction to the artist’s initial intentions. The more mindfully you work, the sooner you notice such a change in direction. The longer you try to hold on to the original idea, the more painful the parting becomes, and the parting definitely comes. So, it’s important to maintain flexible thinking and to view new circumstances as enrichment that must be dealt with creatively.

I try to see these struggles as a kind of mental training that makes me stronger and keeps my thinking flexible. Sometimes I lose this fight, which means I must take a step back from the artwork and instead seek the support of my family, who enable me to get back on track, through constructive criticism and reflection.

Meera: What projects are you working on at the moment?

Tatjana: I am working on a digital art series “Evolution”. The series consists of different animated elements which are published as NFTs in editions. If you have collected the three different elements (“Genesis”, “New Horizons”, and “Inner Peace”), you can complete the series with another NFT element (“Identity”).

This project greatly differs from any other form of digital art, as it takes Augmented Reality (AR) to another level. I call the technique Meta Reality (MetR), as it is displayed by the human brain instead of a digital device. You can view the project on my website: www.tatjanalee.com.

Meera: It was great speaking with you and I am looking forward to experiencing your Meta Reality project!

To learn more about Tatjana, visit: https://www.galleriameera.com/tatjana-lee-artist-bio/

To view and enquire about Tatjana’s works available for purchase, visit our Virtual Gallery here: https://www.galleriameera.com/gallery/