Lee Ufan (b. 1936, Kyongsang-namdo, South Korea) emerged in the late 1960s as one of the founders and major proponents of the avant-garde Mono-ha—or School of Things—group, among Japan’s first internationally renowned contemporary art movements. His practice is characterized by thoughtful and direct iterations of gestures and thematic contemplations of encounter that manifest in installation, sculpture, ceramics, paintings, and works on paper. In 2010, the Lee Ufan Museum, dedicated to the artist’s oeuvre, opened on the Japanese island of Naoshima. Lee has been the subject of over 140 one-artist exhibitions around the world, including Resonance at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007) and Marking Infinity, his major retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011). In 2014, the Palace of Versailles presented ten of Lee’s monumental sculptural works throughout its historic grounds. Other recent solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (2016); Galerie de Sèvres, Citè de la céramique, Paris (2016); Gwangju Museum of Art, South Korea (2017); and Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (2018).
Pace Gallery is pleased to present Lee Ufan: Ceramics, the first solo exhibition of the artist’s ceramic works in North America. Part of Asia Week New York, the exhibition will be on view from March 9 through April 8, 2017, at 32 East 57th Street. The works in this show were made in conjunction with the Manufacture de Sèvres, an atelier outside of Paris renowned for its production of porcelain and its longstanding history of working with artists. An opening reception for the artist will be held on Friday, March 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. Pace will publish a digital catalogue to accompany the exhibition, with an essay by Valérie Duponchelle.
Since the 18th century, Sèvres has invited artists to work in their ateliers in cooperation with their staff of working artisans, opening-up the process at all stages from the development of the material to the finishing techniques. Although Lee has been working with ceramics since the 1970s, he first discovered Sèvres in 1996. Lee Ufan: Ceramics is the result of a two-year collaboration with Manufacture de Sèvres, which began in 2014.
For this exhibition, Lee continues to demonstrate his philosophical concerns regarding materiality and existence, imbuing a sense of respectful intervention to the essential properties of the medium of clay. At the same time, it is the artist’s encounter with fire, an unconcerned participant yet a vital link to the process that creates a sense of phenomenon to the works. The range of sculpture in the show exhibits Lee’s dynamic engagement with this practice. New works on porcelain tiles show a use of color and brush that recalls the artist’s Dialogue series. His concept of composition in these works as exposing the connection between the unmarked and the gesture in turn emphasize the relationship of the object to the environment in which it sits. In contrast, Lee’s terracotta works disrupt the three-dimensional surface in a variety of ways, creating an interplay between perception and space.
For the artist, his "initial intention [in making these ceramic works] is the fragment, ruin and the distortion of meaning and usage." On view in the exhibition will be a sculpture, standing at over five feet and made entirely of broken fragments and powder from ceramic works that were intentionally shattered. The amassing of these broken elements is topped with a "perfect" vessel, which at once depicts destruction and creation through the passage of time.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Lee Ufan will give a talk on ceramics at Asia Society, New York on Wednesday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m.
Lee Ufan (b. 1936, Kyongsang-namdo, Korea) emerged as one of the founders and major proponents of the avant-garde Mono-ha ("School of Things") group in the late 1960s. Mono-ha was Japan’s first internationally recognized contemporary art movement, rejecting Western notions of representation and emphasizing materials and perception and interrelationships between space and matter. Lee creates his sculptural works using only two materials: steel and stone. In 1970, the artist explained that “[t]he highest level of expression is not to create something from nothing, but rather to nudge something that already exists so that the world shows up more vividly.” Recently, Lee has presented two major solo exhibitions: Marking Infinity at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2011) and at the prestigious Chateau de Versailles in France (2014). This is the artist’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery, followed by presentations in New York in 2008 and 2009; From Point, From Line, From Wind at Pace London in 2015; and New Works at Pace Hong Kong in 2016.
Lee has been represented by Pace since 2007.
In honor of both his current exhibition, Ceramics, and the celebration of Asia Week New York, Lee Ufan participated in a conversation with Michelle Yun, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Asia Society. The artist discussed his recent works done in clay, and how he continues to explore themes such as space, time, and materiality through this medium. For more information on Asia Week New York and the Asia Society, please visit their website. Lee Ufan: Ceramics is on view thro
In honor of both his upcoming exhibition Ceramics and the celebration of Asia Week New York, Lee Ufan will be in conversation with Michelle Yun, Asia Society Museum Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. The artist will discuss his recent works done in clay, and how he continues to explore such themes as space, time, and materiality through this medium. The talk will be held at the Asia Society Museum in New York on Wednesday, March 8, at 6:30 pm. For more information and to reserve ti
2017. Pace Gallery. e-catalogue
80 pages: 39 color illustrations