Kukje Gallery is very happy to announce the opening of a major site-specific installation of new works by Lee Ufan to coincide with Dansaekhwa, an official Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition–la Biennale di Venezia. Internationally celebrated for his intellectual and formal rigor, Lee’s installation of new sculptures and paintings will fill the first floor of the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac. Created specifically for Venice, these five new site-specific works echo his constant interrogation of the relationship between painted and unpainted, occupied and empty space. Each work has been installed in a separate space on the ground floor of the Palazzo, consisting of the artist’s iconic rock installations and a painting from his Dialogue series. Together these gestures immerse the visitor in a space that is at the same time untouched and engaged, reflecting the thin line between doing and non-doing that marks the artist’s ongoing exploration of the relationship between materials and perceptions .

Lee has said of this work: “I wanted to push further the idea of expression, not through an act of creating something from nothing, but rather by slightly manipulating things that already exist in order to give them more impact.” The exhibition’s focus on this notion of allusion rather than intervention is reflective of the philosophical and aesthetic paradigms that underpin his practice as one of Mono-ha’s main protagonists beginning in the late 1960s. The installations can be seen as originating in Mono-ha’s focus on highlighting the dynamic between artistic elements and the spaces around them.

Installed to coincide with a major survey presentation of Dansaekhwa in the same location, by presenting Lee’s work alongside that of his Korean peers, the exhibition provides a dramatic historical framework to explore both Dansaekhwa and Mono-ha. Together these were the two dominant art movements of the day and this historic exhibition will allow the viewer to investigate the many intersecting trends that were developing internationally in the early 1970s. Lee Ufan was an important bridge between his peers in Korea and Japan, inspiring many early Dansaekhwa artists. Lee’s conceptual philosophy and the work in this show mirror many of the themes seen in Dansaekhwa, such as process, physical action, and the emphasis on repetition and rhythm. This conceptual emphasis engages the visitor in a rhythmic journey marked by a gradual accumulation of experiences.

The exhibition begins with installations comprised of stone and gravel only, followed by a combination of both, and ends with a final statement manifested in one small but powerful painting. Accordingly, the physical encounter of the visitor with the space is chartered along a series of accumulative environments that echo the artist’s own artistic process.