Lee Ufan (Haman, South Korea, 1936) was raised by his parents and his grandfather, who was a follower of the Confucius
´s doctrine. In 1956 he moved to Japan where he studied philosophy, which in the
future will become an integral part of his artistic practice.
Ufan begins his artistic career in the sixties. He
is one of the founders of the Japan’s first contemporary art movement, the Mono-ha
. The word Mono-ha
is made up of two Japanese words Mono
(thing) and ha
Over time, he
develops a personal language strongly influenced by critical exchanges with other artists of Mono-ha
group who collectively found inspiration in the exploration of natural
materials and their applications without altering their nature.
something timeless and ritualistic in the Ufan’s work, which is accomplished through a continuous exploration of physical concepts
such as line and weight, distance and direction, time and space. As the artist states
“As a pictorial
decree of the idea of infinity … it seems to me that each delineated
brushstroke, each element, gradually becomes liberated from me, fully
inhaling and exhaling space
”. Also he affirms “If a bell is struck, the
sound reverberates into the distance. Similarly, if a point filled with mental
energy is painted on canvas (or a wall); it sends vibrations into the
surrounding unpainted space …. A work of art is a site where places of making
and not making, painting and not painting, are linked so that they reverberate
with each other”.
The exhibition comprises six canvas, three works on paper
and three ceramics made between 2007 and 2010. The works expresses the timeless
idea and mental control of the artist’s hand with his brush.
Last June in the Japanese island of Naoshima the Museum Lee Ufan was opened. This small
Museum, designed by the architect Tadao Ando, exhibits Lee Ufan´s work from the
seventies until today.
In June 2010 the Museum Guggenheim of New York will open a
retrospective exhibition of Lee Ufan curated by Alexandra Munroe, director of the
Department of Asian Art.