LEVEL 1, GALLERY 11
SOUTH KOREA, BORN 1936
LIVES AND WORKS IN PARIS AND KAMAKURA
Lee Ufan emerged as one of the leading figures of the Japanese avant-garde group Mono-ha, in the late 1960s. Emphasising the relationships between space, perception, and object, his works develop from an appreciation of nature and the inherent qualities of his materials. Here, the action of repetitive minimal marks denotes an association between the body and temporality. Combining artistic practice with philosophical writing, Lee’s oeuvre is characterised by thoughtful and direct iterations of gestures, engaging the viewer in contemplation of abstract forms and vivid restraint. The work in the NGV Triennial is emblematic of this approach, part of a body of paintings created between 2016 and 2018, each entitled Dialogue. The work comprises minimal marks on a white canvas, combining to form the image of a single multi-coloured brushstroke. For the artist the work is not the object itself but the space it creates.
Lee Ufan has been the subject of over 140 one-artist exhibitions, including Resonance at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007) and Marking Infinity, his major retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011). In 2014, the Palace of Versailles presented 10 of Lee’s monumental sculptural works throughout its historic grounds. Other solo exhibitions include The Cane of Titan, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (2016); Les Fragments et la Fenêtre, Galerie de Sèvres, Citè de la céramique, Paris (2016); The Ha Jung-Woong Museum of Art’s Inaugural Exhibition, Gwangju Museum of Art, Korea (2017); Inhabiting Time, Centre Pompidou-Metz, France (2019); and Lee Ufan, Dia: Beacon (2019). In 2019, the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden debuted the largest site-specific installation in the United States dedicated to Lee’s Relatum series, which coincided with an exhibition of his paintings in the museum. This was the first time in the Hirshorn’s forty-four-year history that the garden had been dedicated to a single artist.
The NGV warmly thanks Triennial Major Supporters Andrew & Judy Rogers and Professor AGL Shaw AO Bequest for their support.