Lee Jin Woo — La lumière par le vent
Lee Jin Woo
La lumière par le vent
Past: January 25 → March 15, 2014
The wind has blown away the obstacles, the sounds. The sky is clearing up. Then comes the great calm, a new light.
Concrete and symbolic, figurative and abstract, the work of Lee Jin Woo is plural. The seeming simplicity is the result of a sophisticated exploitation of light, relief, matter, the “empty” and the “full”. From the purity of shapes, the economy of colors and means emanate a serenity, a slowness, an intensity… It is a work outside of time and space.
The approach of the artist, calm and silent, keeps away from the contemporary world of artists, who regularly reinvent their artistic process. For the persistent project of Lee Jin Woo spreads out on an entire lifetime. His way of working is always the same: he superimposes layers and layers of Hanji1, this Korean traditional paper, imprisons between each sheet drawings in Indian ink, natural pigments and charcoal, more or less roughly crushed. The final work finds itself between the painting and the sculpture, free from all classifications.
The drawings, the shapes and the colors buried in the strata of papers only appear in transparency. The fruit of the long work of the artist never reveals itself completely, clearly. “It hides itself with humility; like always in Korea”, he says. The works of art of Lee Jin-Woo are nonetheless powerful: they seem radically bare at first sight, often completely abstract. The attentive observation reveals however a nuance, a human or vegetal shape underneath the paper, a solid black in reality composed of a superimposition of drawings…if it isn’t the sudden revelation of a landscape. The “empty” is only apparent and the “paintings” of the artist are intensely full and alive..
In the wind the light The last exhibition by Lee Jin Woo at the Galerie Maria Lund was entitled Mur (Wall). The horizon of the works was clogged by gigantic heaps of charcoal, obscuring partly the strata of papers underneath which swished hours of work, of drawing, mixes of pigments and dusts. On certain works of art, a beautiful green grass was growing; nature was in action in the work of art.
Here, the horizon has opened itself. The obstacle of the wall has given way to the wind that moves, destroys, and transports to leave a new scene. In the wind the light presents the diversity of the explorations of the artist, who always restricts himself to a few materials — reminding the almost dogmatic principles of Arte Povera. The violence of the charcoal, roughly crushed, energetically rubbed, striated, amalgamated on the surface of certain works comes in contrast with the softness of the immense Indian ink compositions, made of superimpositions of drawings and plants. In the wind the light is a title that sounds like a poem, a hint, a new source of interpretation for this meditative universe.
The spaces crossed with striations from numerous papers become vast moors where grass yields under the pressure of the wind; the monochromes morph into cloudy skies, where the sun breaks through for a brief moment. Some works of art, dominated by a large circle swirling with brightly colored islets, leave one wondering: movement catalysts, mental image, a reminder of the Ohaeng, the 5 Korean fundamental elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water)? Or maybe a simple proposal of luminous and dynamic matter in a space without no name or belonging. The work of Lee Jin Woo combines Korean culture, which he is profoundly marked with and his knowledge of Occidental culture.
Apart from the materials, all natural, he gives a great importance to the traditional Korean techniques — specifically calligraphy — that feed his approach and demand discipline and rigor of him. But, above all, this heritage marks Lee Jin-Woo’s work with a certain state of mind: a way to approach the world that the Occidental spectator doesn’t quite grasp, and yet fascinates him. A holistic vision of the world and of art, another perception of culture and nature, without a deep rupture. Mankind inscribes itself into the order of the world, settles and disappears.
1 Hanji : meaning « Korean paper ». A paper with ivory tones, thin, opaque and resistant made from mulberry fibers.
Opening Saturday, January 25, 2014 8 PM → 5 PM
48, rue de Turenne
T. 01 42 76 00 33 — F. 01 42 76 00 10
Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 7 PM
Other times by appointment