Won Ju Lim was born in 1968 in Korea. She lives in Los Angeles.
Lim's sculptural montage explores her interest in what she refers to as ,futuristic ruins', cityscapes that almost seamlessly collapse the past and the future while suspending the present. Influencing her work are the futuristic cityscapes seen in Hollywood science fiction films such as Blade Runner and Logan's Run, cityscapes that remain futuristic today despite their almost twenty-year-old aesthetic. Lim conceptualizes the idea of a 'futuristic ruin' by 'synergizing the classical past and Hollywood fantasies of the future'.
"Lim's free-standing "floor models", her lighting, and video projections, come together as a total sculptural entity encompassing various spatial, visual, and temporal effects. . .Arranged in fractal-like formations, the models at once suggest a futuristic urban center or an architectural ruin. Light sources, directed at the sculpture from different angles, create entrancing visual effects: glittering reflections and refractions of the jewel-like colors of plexiglas, colored shadows of different intensities on the wall, lights that appear to flicker and dance and in some areas glow from within the sculpture itself."
— Patrick Painter Gallery press release, 2001
California, be it the actual place or simply its connotation, has long provided the perfect playground for fantasy and reality. In Won Ju Lim's California Dreamin', slide projections from postcard sunsets and a video shot of Los Angeles arc across the central sculpture, simulating a paradise that is surely recognizable, but strangely distant. It was indeed a paradise that Garcia Ordonez Montalvo sought to describe in his 16th century writings about an island in the Pacific. The island, populated by a tribe of women warriors, was called California. Although the name was eventually appropriated for the state that we call California today, the land continued to be depicted on maps as an island centuries after the tales were written, testifying to the enduring myths that Montalvo had created. This historical fiction and its surreal blend with historical fact provided one of the main inspirations for this work.