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“Nucleus 87-99”, 1987. Oil on canvas. 200 x 400 cm (as a set) LEE SEUNG-JIO “Nucleus” Perrotin Hong Kong May 26 - July 8, 2017 Opening Reception: Fri...

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“Nucleus 87-99”, 1987. Oil on canvas. 200 x 400 cm (as a set)

LEE SEUNG-JIO “Nucleus” Perrotin Hong Kong May 26 - July 8, 2017 Opening Reception: Friday May 26, 6-8 pm Perrotin, Hong Kong is pleased to present Lee Seung-Jio’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, Nucleus. Born in 1941 in Yongcheon, a village in North Pyeong-An Province, Lee studied painting at Hongik University in Seoul and came to be known as “the pipe artist” or “the nucleus artist,” nicknames given by the first generation of art critics in Korea such as Lee Yil and Oh Kwang-Su. Nucleus is the title he gave to all the paintings he produced from his debut in 1963 until his death in 1990. He subtitled each painting according to its production year and sequence number, in a manner similar to Dansaekhwa artists. While he shared with his contemporaries an interest in abstraction, what particularly characterizes his paintings between the late 1960s and the mid-1970s, is his use of optical illusions to create tensional balance between two-dimensional flatness and three-dimensional illusion.1 This distinguishes Lee not only from his fellow Origin artists but also from Dansaekhwa artists such as Park Seo-Bo, Chung Sang-Hwa, Yun Hyong-Keun, Chung Chang-Sup, and Kwon Young-Woo. Lee’s paintings expose the reduction of abstract painting, highlighting flatness while at the same time giving a sense of visual and psychological tension to the nonrepresentational—accomplished through his use of vertical, horizontal, and diagonal bands and pipes. In other words, although Lee’s paintings are characterized as geometric abstraction, they also exhibit poetic and rhythmic dynamics as a result of the “movement, afterimage, and visual oscillation” between two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality. This exhibition at Perrotin, Hong Kong, focuses on his work of the 1970s and 1980s, the decades during which his interest transitioned from representing nucleus as objects with optical illusions to painting “non-material spatiality.”2 While Park Seo-Bo’s unceasing propositions of Écriture contributed to developing contemporary Korean abstract painting, Lee advanced geometric abstraction by adhering to nucleus as his unique visual language, with which he continued to reconcile the bridge between the pictorial surface’s two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality. Lee’s practice was to turn a pictorial space into a performative space on the two-dimensional, flat painting support. In his geometric abstraction, Lee was able to achieve an aesthetic distance from both Dansaekhwa and Origin artists by incessantly seeking to convey conflicting visual elements on his canvases. This distinct characteristic continued to appear in his Nucleus paintings for twenty-five years; it defines his distinct style. Excerpt from “Lee Seung-Jio’s Geometric Abstraction: The Twenty-Five-Year Journey through the Nucleus” by Yeon Shim Chung, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Theory, Hongik University. 1. Oh Kwang-Su, “The Penetrating Sense of Composition: The World of Lee Seung-Jio,” in Lee Seung-Jio 1968-1990 (Seoul: Total Museum of Contemporary Art, 1996), p. 15. Founded in 1963, “Origin” consisted of a group of young artists in their 20s including Choi Myoung-Young, Suh Seung-Won, Lee Seung-Jio who were part of the 4.19 generation. 2. Lee Yil, “On Lee Seung-Jio’s Recent Work: Around His Sixth Solo Exhibition,” Lee Seung-Jio (Duson Gallery, 1987), n.p. The artist had his first solo show in 1973 at the age of 33 at Shinsegae Gallery, Seoul. Subsequently, he had solo shows at Myungdong Gallery (1975), Hankook Gallery (1978), Kwanhoon Gallery (1980), Mee Gallery (1984), and Duson Gallery (1987). After his death in 1990, Hoam Gallery organized his first retrospective exhibition in 1991. Writings on his work at time were mostly by critics Lee Yil, Oh Kwang-Su, and Kim Bok-Young, among others. Lee Yil’s writings focused on discussing the artist’s solo shows.

“Nucleus 78-4”, 1978. Oil on canvas. 145 x 112 cm

“Nucleus 84-30”, 1984. Oil on canvas. 162 x 130 cm

Lee’s works have been exhibited at multiple prestigious galleries and museums, including at Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea (2016); Gana Art Center, Seoul, Korea (2015); Daegu Art Museum, Daegu, Korea (2011); Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan (2010); Wellside Gallery, Seoul, Korea (2010); Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea (2004); Busan Museum of Art, Busan, Korea (2000); Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea (1996); and Hoam Gallery, Seoul, Korea (1991). Lee’s works are included in the collections of major museums such as National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea; Walker-Hill Art Museum, Seoul, Korea; Deutsche Bank, Seoul, Korea; Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea; Hoam Museum, Seoul, Korea; Hongik University Museum, Seoul, Korea; Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea; Hansol Group Co., Seoul, Korea; and Seoul Women’s College of Nursing, Seoul, Korea.

Lee Seung-Jio, Yong-Cheon, 1941-Seoul, 1990 SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2017

- Perrotin, Hong Kong (upcoming)

2010

- “Back to Black”, Wellside Gallery, Seoul, Korea

2000

- Busan Museum of Art, Busan, Korea

1996

- Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea - Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea

1991

- Hoam Gallery, Seoul, Korea

1987

- Duson Gallery, Seoul, Korea

1984

- Mee Gallery, Seoul, Korea

1980

- Kwanhoon Gallery, Seoul, Korea

1978

- Hankook Gallery, Seoul, Korea

1976

- Myungdong Gallery, Seoul, Korea

1973

- Shinsegae Gallery, Seoul, Korea GROUP EXHIBITIONS (Selection)

2016

- “Origin”, Perrotin, Paris, France - “After Drawing”, Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea - “As the Moon Waxes and Wanes”, MMCA Gwacheon, 30 Years, Gwacheon, Korea - “Dansaekhwa: The Traces of Four Artists”, Curated by Yoon Jin Sup, LA Art Show, Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, U.S.A.

2015

- “Beyond Materiality, Pursuing the Realm of Vacancy - Eye and Mind of Korean Contemporary Art”, Gana Art Center, Seoul, Korea - “Empty Fullness: Materiality and Spirituality in Contemporary Korea Art”, Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina - “Commemorative Exhibition of the 70th Anniversary of Liberation: The Great Journey with the Citizen-Uproarious, Heated, Inundated”, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea

2014

- “Color”, Aram Art Museum, Gyeonggi-do, Korea - “Empty Fullness: Materiality and spirituality in contemporary Korean Art”, SPSI Museum, Shanghai, China

2012

- “Dansaekhwa – Korean Monochrome painting”, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Korea

2011

- “Qi is full”, Daegu Art Museum, Daegu, Korea

2010

- “The Color of Nature, Monochrome Art in Korea: Collections from the Busan Museum of Art”, Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM), Taipei, Taiwan - “Geometrical Illusion: Homage to Lee Seung Jio”, Ilju & Seonhwa Gallery, Seoul, Korea

2009

- “The Color of Nature – Monochrome Art in Korea”, Wellside Gallery, Shanghai, China

2008

- “Artists, What is Science for You?”, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea - “The Color of Nature: Monochrome Art in Korea”, Roh Gallery, Seoul, Korea

2007

- “Korean Abstract Painting 1958-2008”, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea

2006

- “Reduction and Expansion of Contemporary Art – ORIGIN Painting Association 1962-2006”, Seoul Art Center, Hangaram Museum, Seoul, Korea

2005

- “The Root of Honam Abstract Painting”, Woojaegil Art Museum, Gwangju, Korea

2004

- “Monochrome Paintings of Korea, Past and Present”, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea

2003

- “Dynamics of Expansion and Reduction”, KEPCO Art Center, Seoul, Korea

Gallery information: 17/F, 50 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong T: +852 3758 2180 / F: +852 3758 2186 E: [email protected] Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 7pm

Press contacts Loris Lin, Press Officer, [email protected] / +852 3758 2183 Thomas Chabaud, Press Officer, [email protected] / +33 1 76 21 07 11 Victoria Communications, Victoria Cheung, [email protected] / +852 6086 1672