Lee Ufan: Response




For Lee Ufan’s first exhibition in London since the unveiling of his outdoor public sculpture at The Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, the artist-philosopher opens a selection of new work at Lisson Gallery, presenting six new paintings and four works on paper. Alongside this, in Arles, ‘Lee Ufan: Requiem’ has recently opened across the city’s Alyscamps, a large Roman necropolis, curated by Alfred Pacquement. Here, the Korean artist’s Relatum sculptures enter into dialogue with the ancient sarcophagi of the city, with works dotted along the path leading to the Saint-Honorat church, an unfinished Romanesque building, and in the chapels.

Lee Ufan (born in 1936 in Kyongnam, South Korea) is a transnational artist, living and working between Japan and Paris. He developed his practice in the 1960s as a founding member and pioneer of the avant-garde, Tokyo-based Mono-ha movement, a group that served as a touchstone in the development of contemporary art in Asia. Mono-ha (‘School of Things’) arose amid the collapse of colonial world orders and authoritarian protests, and served as a critique of Western notions of representation, with a collection of young artists opting to focus on the relationships between materials and perceptions rather than on intervention. Lee’s works are characteristic of this school of thought, using natural stones and pigment to enhance the experience of the materials and to represent their interconnectedness. A crucial element of Lee’s practice is a conscious reduction, with complete focus on the essential elements – in particular the body and gesture. The artist utilizes his body performatively in the creation of each work; painting from a position above the canvas, he lies on a wooden plank placed over the surface of the work, like a bridge. As such, Lee feels he is a part of the canvas and can immerse himself within it.

At Lisson Gallery, Lee brings together paintings and works on paper from a new series entitled Response, produced in recent years from the artist’s studio in Paris. These minimal white canvases are defined by singular sweeps of acrylic, expanding on his concept to anchor the work to “the encounter”, a moment in time and space when the brush marks the canvas. While a development from his Dialogue series, these new works adopt a refined palette of more complex, earthier tones, with enhanced movement within the expressive strokes. Lee’s practice has always been deeply philosophical – inspired by a profound meditative practice where each work aligns the brushstroke and the breath – but these works are marked by a period of intense reflection for Lee. Ahead of opening this exhibition and the presentation in Arles, Lee stated: “Experiencing the pandemic, I felt the breath of life and death in the same moment, and with this in mind, the meaning of life and death was opened up to

Duration 16 November 2021 - 22 January 2022
Times Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00am – 6:00pm
Cost Free
Venue Lisson Gallery (27 Bell St)
Address 27 Bell Street, London, NW1 5BY
Contact 4402077242739 / contact@lissongallery.com / www.lissongallery.com

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