"If a bell is struck, the sound reverberates into the distance. Similarly, if a point filled with mental energy is painted on a canvas (or a wall), it sends vibrations into the surrounding unpainted space...A work of art is a site where places of making and not making, painting and not painting, are linked so that they reverberate with each other."
- Lee Ufan
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is pleased to announce its first exhibition with Lee Ufan opening on Thursday, September 3rd. It will be the first time in ten years that the artist has had a major gallery exhibition in France.
The exhibition will be on all three floors of the gallery and will include paintings, major sculptures in stone and steel, works on paper and a wall painting installation. The central space will be animated by a large minimalist sculpture against the back wall, a three meter high iron plate will stand before a large natural stone. In many ways this work is a metaphor for the austere simplicity and philosophical point of view the artist embodies in his work. Lee Ufan allows the essence of steel and stone to speak for themselves without ornamentation of any kind. Four large-scale paintings titled Dialogue will hang on the other walls surrounding the sculpture. These white paintings present one, two and three large brush strokes in a reductionist strategy that again offers the viewer a unique perspective on the nature of the painting process, as well as provoking an intense spiritual response in the viewer.
The lower gallery will offer an installation with a single wall painting. The drawing space on the first floor will present small and medium sized paintings and four new works on paper. The overall experience of the exhibition will be one of high esthetic vibration coupled with a deep resonance and calm; a tangible sense of subtle energies, which are the internal mechanism in all the artist's works.
Lee Ufan was born in Kyongnam, Korea in 1936. Whilst at the Seoul National University he decided to move to Japan in 1956. In 1961 he graduated from the Department of Philosophy at the Nihon University in Tokyo. From 1969, he becomes known as the leading artist and theorist of the Japanese art movement, Mono-ha (school of things). In the early 1970s he is appointed Professor of Tama Art University in Tokyo until 2007.
Today Lee Ufan lives between Paris and Japan and in 1997 he was invited to serve as visiting professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In the same year, his famous exhibition at the Jeu de Paume, curated by Daniel Abadie took place. In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Praemium Imperiale for painting. In 2005, the Musée d'Art Moderne in Saint Etienne (France) organized a major exhibition of his work.
The most recent exhibitions include the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, in Spring 2008 and the Infinitum group show at the Palazzo Fortuny, coinciding with the 57th Venice Biennale.
An exhibition catalogue with Lee Ufan's writings and an interview with Lorand Hegyi will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.