Dates: 27 FEB 2019 – 30 SEP 2019
Venue: Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France
Centre Pompidou Metz presents a retrospective of Lee Ufan, tracing his career from the early works of the late 1960s to his most recent creations. The exhibition offers a defining vision of Ufan's unique oeuvre, showing how his artistic vocabulary has evolved over more than five decades.
As a painter, sculptor, poet, philosopher and creator of environments, Ufan's works function as revelatory devices, drawing our attention to empty space, the tension generated between untouched areas of canvas, the distance dividing two elements of a sculpture, the viewer's position, effects of light and shade: everything we fail to notice at first glance, but which is there nonetheless, playing its role in the making and impact of a work of art.
Born in Korea in 1936, when the country was under Japanese occupation, Lee Ufan recevied a traditional, Confucian education which was to profoundly affect his subsequent development as an artist. From the outset of his career in the 1960s, Ufan strove to achieve a balance between his Korean roots, his links to Japan where he studied and worked, and his growing attachment to the West (he exhibited at the 《Paris Biennale》 of 1971).
At the intersection of three cultures, Lee Ufan's work is universal and immediate in intent. The works are, also, conceived as living experiences, bridging the worlds of philosophy and the visual arts. His sculptures play on our notion of space, while his paintings interact with time. Ufan strives endlessly to master infinity and to 'inhabiting time.'
Reflecting his highly personal vision of contemporary art, the exhibition reveals a meditative pathway through and around the artist's themes of choice - the relationship between things and their surrounding space, forms and voids, but also the dialogue between action and non-action. The exhibition itinerary offers an insight into successive or parallel phases in Lee Ufan's career.