Korean avant-garde art pioneer Seung-taek Lee’s solo exhibition will be held at the GALLERY HYUNDAI New Space from October 7th to November 9th. This is one of his major exhibitions following his solo exhibitions at the Sungkok Art Museum and the Nam June Paik Art Center. This exhibition will give viewers an opportunity to see the artist’s art world which has been acclaimed by world famous curators including Hans Ulrich Obrist, Tobias Berger, and Adriano Pedrosa.
In this exhibition the artist’s representative sculptures and installation works will be presented as well as video recordings of his performance art that will be shown for the first time. Commonly, performance art vanishes without physical form and remains only in the form of recordings. This show can be said to be a huge preservation project, recording the sixty-year history of Seung-taek Lee’s performance art.
His works in this exhibition share the common background origins of negation, resistance, challenge, and creation. At university, the artist was fascinated by the philosophy of Nietzsche. This philosophy became the foundation of ‘negation’ which is a core of his art world. The artist realized that new things could be created by the negation and refusal of preexisting things.
Among the works presented are Wind, Environment, and Godret Stone. After seeing Lee’s works Wind and Environment, the director of Aomori Museum of Art, Takayama Hibari (鷹山ひばり), said that ‘if John Cage created music without sound, Seung-taek Lee creates visual art without form.’ His works related to this idea can be explained with the concept of non-materiality. The concept of non-materiality is the creation of art works with materials which are difficult to visualize such as water, fire, wind, and smoke. This is a challenge and resistance against the concept of traditional sculpture and makes it possible to expand the range and to create new things. His work Godret Stone, collected and exhibited by Tate, is a work to overturn our previous ideas about materials. The artist shaved stones and hung them with string to make them look soft.
In this way, he changed the nature of stones.
Seung-taek Lee is one of the first Korean avant-garde artists. He worked on the periphery for fifty years.
Since his name became known after receiving the Nam June Paik Art Center International Art Award in 2009, he has received acclaim for his distinctive art world. Hans Ulrich Obrist acknowledged him as a great artist who has his own art world, in an interview with the artist printed in Flash Art. Also, Tobias Berger, while working as chief curator at the Nam June Paik Art Center, said that Lee is the artist who can overturn modern art history. Seung-taek Lee will participate in the Frieze Masters in London with his solo booth starting October 15th. He is the first Korean artist to have been chosen for this. Even in his eighty’s, the artist continues to work actively as at other times and attempts experiments of various styles while working everyday. He still has much to show us.