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Exhibition of new works by Korean artist Lee Ufan opens at Pace Gallery Hong Kong
Dialogue, 2014. Oil on canvas, 162 cm x 130 cm x 3cm. © the artist; all images © Pace Gallery.

HONG KONG.- Pace Hong Kong announces its first solo exhibition of Lee Ufan which presenting his new works. It is the artist’s first exhibition in Hong Kong after his landmark 2011 survey at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and follows his 2014 solo presentation of twelve site-specific works created for the Château de Versailles. The exhibition will be on view from Nov 20, 2015 to Jan 9, 2016 at 15C Entertainment Building.

Lee Ufan is considered a leading figure of the Japanese Mono-ha movement, and the builder of its theoretical underpinnings. In the social and cultural upheaval of the postwar era, with its corresponding reflections on values, art movements rapidly emerged around the world, including Minimalism in the United States, Arte Povera in Italy and Anti-Form in Britain, and modernism came under fierce criticism and reexamination of its values. Unlike the ideas and experimental schools then seeking expression in the West, Mono-ha, the only such school to emerge in the East, focused on the material properties of objects themselves and the relations between objects and the space they occupy.

Lee began writing essays researching objects and space in the 1960s, using “relations” as a reference for artworks. Influenced by ancient Greek philosophy, he held that the formation of each object is rooted in the relationships between things. These philosophical ideas came to form the principles and theories behind Mono-ha, which pursued not the expression of natural material itself, but that “moment when beauty is perceived upon encountering the vividness of the original state of the world in a certain setting.”

Lee Ufan’s unique revelation of the hidden “relations” specific to the East, seem to be the theme of the “dialogue” taking place in his recent works, one which highlights a form of existence that transcends the environment of the object itself. The artwork exists beyond the object, constructing a “relational” sense of existence. The energy produced in the setting around the object, both visible and invisible, provokes reflection about the essence of the surrounding world and the object, producing the “attributes of a dialogue.” The powerful primal sense and energy created by Lee Ufan’s works, whether sculptures or paintings, are unique to the East.

The artist was born in Korea in 1936, and graduated from the philosophy department at the University of Japan in 1961. He currently splits his time between France and Japan. Lee has been a profoundly influential artist and art critic since the late 1960s. For the past forty years, he has been active on a worldwide scale. His works employ materials in ways that rekindle our “encounters” with the world. His art is at the core of abstract artistic creation in the East, and the focus of much attention and research in the West.

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