Presented in collaboration with the artist and Hyundai Gallery, Seoul, this marks the first solo exhibition of Korean artist Seung-taek Lee’s work in the United States.
Lee’s experimental practice holds an influential place in the history of Korean art. Throughout his six-decade career, he has continually challenged traditional notions of identity and history, forging new paths for the artistic expression of nature, philosophy, and spatial experience.
This exhibition celebrates the gallery’s representation of Lee with 40 works spanning the late 1950s to the present day. The presentation will feature pivotal works from Lee’s oeuvre, including Non-Sculpture (1960); photographs from his 1971 performance, Wind-Folk Amusement; and several Wind paintings from the 1960s through the present wherein curving lengths of rope give shape to the ephemeral movements of air. A fully illustrated catalogue featuring an interview of the artist by Hans-Ulrich Obrist, an essay by curator and scholar Hui Kyung An, and a specially commissioned poem by Mónica De La Torre will accompany the exhibition.
A pioneer of the Korean avant-garde, which emerged after the end of the Korean War in 1953, Lee has repeatedly engaged political, cultural, and environmental themes. His prolific body of work encompasses diverse media including sculpture, installation, performance, and Land art. Notions of negation—which the artist alternately refers to as “dematerialization,” “non-sculpture,” and “anti-concept”—structure his approach, by which he transforms ordinary objects, imbuing them with metaphysical meanings. Embracing invisible forces and unorthodox materials such as tree branches, wire, stones, human hair, fabric, rope, and Korean hanji paper, his art elevates the mundane to the level of the mythical. Insistently material and rooted in a concrete poetics of place, it honors the subtle, unassuming beauty of Korean cultural traditions and folk art. Its frequent invocations of nature and process align with contemporaneous developments in Earth Art, Mono-ha, and Post-Minimalism.