Ufan Lee / b.1936 / With winds 1990 / Oil on canvas / 227.5 x 182cm / The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art. Purchased 1998 with funds from Michael Sidney Myer through and with the assistance of the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery / © The artist

Lee Ufan
With winds 1990

On Display: QAG, Gallery 13

Lee Ufan is not only an artist, but also a respected writer and philosopher. With Winds 1990 uses brushstrokes to explore balance and infinite space. Each confident stroke placed on the canvas focuses our attention on the paint as it makes a mark and forms a line. Lee Ufan frequently employs simple, abstract brushstrokes in dark blue and grey tones, which are applied to white canvases or surfaces to create a sense of contrast and openness.

Lee Ufan’s interest in philosophy is revealed in the meditative and concentrated nature of his work. In his paintings, he creates series of brushstrokes or marks in correspondence with each other, as well as with the open space surrounding them. Works such as With Winds 1990 are not busy, nor are they empty — rather, a calm sense of balance is observed. In his practice, Lee Ufan explores the interrelatedness of objects and ideas, consciousness and existence.

Born in Korea, Lee Ufan moved to Japan at the age of 20, completing a degree in modern Western philosophy from Nihon University. In the late 1960s, Lee Ufan’s search for ways to express his ideas led to his involvement in the formation of the Mono-ha movement (the school of things). Mono-ha, which changed the course of contemporary Japanese art, aimed to shift the focus of art from European and American avant-gardism to an alternative point of view focused on non-Western perspectives. Lee Ufan has built a career as a critical and activist artist, and also as a writer and philosopher. These disciplines all continue to be vital and related components in the artist’s practice.


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