Gazette Drouot logo print

Lee Ufan: Repetition and Infinity

Published on , by Vanessa Schmitz-Grucker

The South Korean artist has just opened his new art center, the “Lee Ufan Arles”, in the city of Arles in Provence. He maintains close ties with France and his Western public, which reciprocates his affection.

Lee Ufan (1936), From Line No.78060, 1978, mineral pigment on canvas, 60.6 x 72.7... Lee Ufan: Repetition and Infinity
Lee Ufan (1936), From Line No.78060, 1978, mineral pigment on canvas, 60.6 x 72.7 cm/24 x 29 in.
Estimate: €30/50 MJPY (i.e. approx. €230,000/370,000)

Lee Ufan and France have enjoyed a long love story that started in 1971, the day he first participated in the Biennale de Paris. In Arles, he decided to open his third exhibition space—after Japan and South Korea—using minimalist architecture, to align with his work. Lee Ufan was a leader in the Mono-ha movement—“the school of things” in Japanese—which was started in Tokyo in the 1960s. The work of these artists shares many similarities with Supports/Surfaces in France, Arte Povera in Italy and Minimalism in the United States. Between the legacy of anti-art and the rejection of industrialized societies, experience is decisive for Lee Ufan. In his iconic From Line series, the inevitable depletion of paint stretched over the canvas is part of a broader reflection on time: “In the beginning,” he explained, “the concepts for From Point/From Line were one type of a concept of infinity… this concept of infinity through repetition[…]. Infinity is not the repetition of one concept, but the combination of what is painted and not painted, and I began to think that infinity emerged from within this type of time lag” (exhibition catalog for “Mugen ni tsuite/On Infinity”, 1993). In Frank Stella’s words:  “What you see is what you see,” Lee Ufan prefers: “What you see is what you don’t see.” In From Line N°78060, lines play with filled and empty space, the visible and invisible. The artist dips his brush in cobalt blue, Japanese mineral pigments, then, in one continuous motion, stretches it across the medium placed on the ground. His monochrome works are both a work of material and bodily movement, the back-and-forth between the two making it possible to “inhabit time”, to use the title of his retrospective, acclaimed by the general public, at the Centre Pompidou-Metz in 2019.

Sunday 29 May 2022 - 14:00 (CEST)
New Art Est-Ouest Auctions saleroom in Gotanda 2-5-15, Higashigotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, Japan. - 141-0022 Tokyo
New Art Est-Ouest Auctions
Gazette Drouot
Gazette Drouot
Welcome La Drouot Gazette offers you 4 Articles.
You still have 1 article(s) left to read.
I subscribe