The Centre Pompidou-Metz is to present from 27 February 2019 a monographic exhibition devoted to the Korean artist Lee Ufan, tracing a career at the heart of his painted and sculpted work from his first creations from the end of the 1960’s up until his most recent creations. The exhibition endeavours to show the manner in which the artist’s vocabulary has been transformed and has changed during the course of the last five decades of his creation, each series of works bringing about the following.
Born in 1936 in a Korea at the time under Japanese domination, the traditional Confucian education which Lee Ufan received profoundly marked the artist that he was to become. Since the 1960’s, Lee Ufan, is looking for an equilibrium between his Korean roots and his ties to Japan, then to the west, as well as between philosophy and art. His works are to be considered as much as encounters as experiences to be lived. If his sculptures and environments play with space, his paintings play more 1 with time, Lee Ufan is always looking to control the infinite. Each one of his works has the power of an aphorism and translate visually and physically essential philosophical principles.
The presentation creates a dialogue with his celebrated series From Points, Line, Winds; Dialogue; Correspondence and Relatum, with works and installations rarely shown to the public, often pivotal in his reflection, which enable to comprehend the successive or simultaneous phases of his work, creating close links between his painting and sculpture.
Around his favourite themes are the relations between objects and the space which surrounds them between what is full and what is empty, but also, the dialogue between the natural and the industrial between the interior and the exterior, Lee Ufan proposes a walkabout-meditation in which a very personal definition of contemporary art takes form, detached from language and which can be understood as an immediate sensory experience.
Lee Ufan lives and works in Kamakura (Japan) and in Paris. His work has been the subject of multiple presentations all over the world at the heart of important institutions such as the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg, the Serpentine Gallery and the Pace Gallery in London, the Guggenheim Museum of New York, the Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré, the Château de Versailles, the Musée d’art moderne de Saint Etienne, et the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, the Kunstmuseum of Bonn, the Städel Museum of Frankfurt and the National Museum of Contemporary Art of Seoul; as well as being part of numerous artistic manifestations such as the Biennale of Venice (2007, 2011), Gwangju (2000, 2006), Shanghai (2000), Sydney (1976), São Paulo (1973) and Paris (1971). In 2014 and 2017, the work of Lee Ufan was presented at Centre Pompidou-Metz as part of the exhibition Simple shapes (2014) and Japanorama. A new vision on art since 1970 (2017).