Lee Ufan is associated with two of the most important currents in the Asian art of the last half-century: Mono-ha or the “school of things” in Japan (as a participant and theorist); and (as a promoter and fellow traveller) Dansaekhwa or Korean monochrome painting—a “movement” that was recognized as such only in retrospect. But as with most outstanding artists, Lee has mostly gone his own way, and the only movement that’s been entirely relevant to his work has been the movement of his own thought. Not only a painter and sculptor but also a critic and theorist of art—his collection of writings in English translation, The Art of Encounter, 2008, is well worth seeking out—Lee was born in Korea in 1936, and in 1956 went to Japan to study philosophy (with a particular interest in phenomenology). He’s remained there since, though later spending part of his time in France as well. Keep Reading
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