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Installation view, Lee Ufan: Open Dimension, The Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. © Lee Ufan

Press

Lee Ufan: Open Dimension

Reviewed by The Washington Post

Oct 17, 2019

By Mark Jenkins

It’s easy to see what Lee Ufan’s minimalist sculptural installations are made of. To see what they are is more complicated.

Positioned in the outdoor plaza around the Hirshhorn Museum, the 10 pieces that constitute the artist’s “Open Dimension” employ found stones and manufactured steel, as well as gravel and water. But those are just the elements that the Korean-born artist brought to the exhibition, the first single-artist takeover of the entire plaza in the museum’s 44-year existence. To Lee, the preexisting context is essential.

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Installation view, Lee Ufan: Open Dimension, The Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. © Lee Ufan

The grass, the pavement and the museum’s structures are as integral as the rock and metal. Several of the pieces fit into notches in the building. One claims the central fountain, which Lee has turned into a sort of mirror by dying the water black. Other reflective surfaces include the polished steel inside a coiled sculpture that can be entered by museumgoers.

Since 1968, the artist has titled most of his sculptures “Relatum,” distinguishing the individual works with subtitles. His designs contrast natural materials with man-made objects, filled space with empty voids. But Lee wants viewers to see relationships: connection, not opposition.

“The work is about using the space,” Lee said, while leading a tour of “Open Dimension” a few days before it opened last month. “It’s not about the individual parts. I want people to look at the entirety of the installation.”

According to the artist, he spent two years pondering and sketching the installation. “There really isn’t a [part] which comes first,” he explained, using a mix of English and Korean, translated by an interpreter. “It’s relational.”

To read the full review, please visit The Washington Post.

Press — "Lee Ufan: Open Dimension" in The Washington Post, Oct 17, 2019