LEE Ufan



  • 〈Relatum〉,1969/2019, iron (170×140×1 cm), glass (170×140×1 cm) and stone (40×30×25 cm) Iron, glass and stone, Courtesy of Pierre Lorinet Collection, Singapore and SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, Tokyo

  • 〈Relatum〉,1969/2019, iron (170×140×1 cm), glass (170×140×1 cm) and stone (40×30×25 cm) Iron, glass and stone, Courtesy of Pierre Lorinet Collection, Singapore and SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, Tokyo

  • 〈Relatum〉,1969/2019, iron (170×140×1 cm), glass (170×140×1 cm) and stone (40×30×25 cm) Iron, glass and stone, Courtesy of Pierre Lorinet Collection, Singapore and SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, Tokyo

Relatum (1969 / 2019)

 

 
This work takes its title from a philosophical term:  Relatum denotes objects and events among which a relation exists. Comprised of glass, iron and stone, Relatum is evocative of the artist’s undocumented 1968 performance, where he laid panels of glass in a public space and broke them one by one with a stone. Originally produced in 1969, Relatum manifests the artist’s primary concern: transitional conditions of making and unmaking.
 

Relatum (2007)

 

A follow-up piece, Relatum (2007) is a spatial composition and juxtaposition of a natural stone in an as-is state and the factory-rolled steel plate made from ores and minerals that are both elements contained in stone. Lee considers steel as a highly conceptual lump of matter — an extremely heavy and solid material which serves no function or content without further processing. The work induces a silent dialogue between these two materials and their relationship with the space and the very contexts they inhabit.
 

Relatum (Unknown)

 

Under the dual influences of the environment he grew up in and the education he received, Lee Ufan’s work represents the amalgamation of artistic creation and philosophical thinking. For the artist, the ultimate concept of an artwork is encounter, meaning a dynamic process that forms connections between the artwork, its spectator and their surrounding space. In contrast to form, the artist considers arrangement and texture to be fundamentally worthier of our attention because there exists an invisible, yet resonating connection between the material of an artwork and its surrounding environment. Although most of Lee’s works reveal a powerful image, spectators are more likely to be drawn into their expansive gravitational fields and be immersed in a sense of serenity. The artist uses mainly unprocessed natural materials to create his work. By avoiding man-made traces and adopting extremely pure approaches, his work unveils nature’s original way of existence through highly minimal forms of expression.



About the Artist


Born in 1938, Korea. He is a leading practitioner and theorist of ‘Mono-ha’, otherwise known as School of Things. The art of Lee Ufan echoes in our appreciation of nature and an artistic evolution of manmade creation which opened up to industrial manufacture. Lee deliberately restrains his gestures in his work and cuts personal expression to a minimum by leaving the material unmade. This in turn produces emptiness that is generative and vivid. Often described as an “art of yohaku (余白; empty spaces and margins), his work draws out resilient tension and tranquility which occupies the exhibition space.
 
His work is in the permanent collections of Centre Pompidou, Paris; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Collection, London; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; among many others. Lee lives and works in Paris and Kamakura, Japan.