Gallery Hyundai is pleased to present Lee Kang-So’s solo exhibition Becoming at the Palazzo Caboto in Venice, Italy from 8 May to 30 June 2019. This exhibition will include around 20 pieces featuring Lee’s key works Untitled-75031 and Painting (Event 77-2) as well as experimental works from the 1970s and his most recent paintings and sculptures. Practicing his own experimental style of expression, free from conventional customs and ideologies, Lee created works in the 70s that are now considered to be the foundation for his paintings and sculptures from recent years.
As one of Korea’s most representative experimental artists, Lee founded and participated in various art movements of the 1970s, including the ‘Shincheje Group,’ ‘Daegu Contemporary Art Festival,’ and ‘Seoul Contemporary Art Festival.’ His installations and performance pieces from the 1970s resemble unscripted theatrical plays acted out through audience participation. The artist invites the audience to a loosely structured situation, enabling the freedom of interpretation and experience. The 1st floor and part of the 2nd floor accommodate Lee’s experimental pieces from the 1970s reproduced for this occasion. The 1st floor of the Palazzo Caboto houses Void (1971), an installation of reeds taken from its original environment and resituated within the exhibition space provides a sensory experience for the audience.
Spending his youth in Korea during a time of turmoil, Lee did not absorb Western art in its entirety but instead displayed an attitude of Pungryu through his works, which was instilled in him since his childhood. He explains that the attitude of Pungryu draws out the integral element of process in performance art. It is the pursuit of psychological values away from the quickness of everyday life, and connotes the meaning ‘to play aesthetically’ from the viewpoint of Oriental aesthetics. Pungryu – a traditional Korean ideology that has been passed down since the ancient times – embodies intuition that penetrates truth, merging the heavens, nature, and self while embracing other ideologies. Furthermore, Lee emphasizes the state of movement and the spirit of ‘qi’ that comprises the relationship in which everything functions, rather than the proof of existence. The artist’s experimental attitude has accumulated over a variety of genres such as painting, sculpture, installation, print, performance, and video art. In the 70s, Lee experimented with imprinting simple images onto the canvas by smearing paint or unraveling its threads. Through the reflection of autonomous brushstrokes and movement, Lee continues to add depth to his paintings. Also, his sculptural works are created through the convergence of the body, mind, and environment. A piece of clay, which the artist throws in a swift movement, can even reflect the weather of the day that the work dries.