Lee Ufan | Lisson Gallery / by John Koo

March 25, 2015 - May 9, 2015
Lisson Gallery

27 & 52 Bell Street , London NW1 5DA 

From the gallery website:

This exhibition brings together a body of new work by Lee Ufan, famed as a founding member of the Japanese Mono-ha and Korean Dansaekhwa groups of the late 1960s and early ’70s – both important modern and parallel art movements which have only relatively recently been feted by major shows in the West. Although his practice is widely regarded as minimalist, Lee believes in utilising an economy of gesture or representation in search of the maximum possible effect or resonance. His most recent series of Dialogue paintings and watercolours are economically composed of singular sweeps of paint, each built up over an extended period of time through an accretion of smaller strokes. The brush gradually unloads, the mark lightening towards immateriality as he drags it across the surface of the canvas or paper, each repetition being ritualistically controlled by Lee’s held breath. The incorporation of strong colours – blue, red or an earthy green – to the artist’s traditional grey palette, marks a decisive shift away from the intangibility of grisaille towards elements or references in the real world, perhaps harking back to an early series of fluorescent spray-painted works by Lee from 1968, entitled Landscape. The four large-scale paintings at Lisson Gallery combine together to form a chapel-like environment within the main atrium, surrounding the viewer with gestures that require time and concentration to fully appreciate.