Lee Jin-Woo

The solo exhibition of the Paris-based Korean artist Lee Jin-Woo, showcases philosophical inquiry as the framework and artistic intuition as the driving force, his paintings and works on paper are deeply influenced by traditional Korean aesthetics. These artworks result from an ascetic process of total submission of mind, body, and spirit, which heightens bodily awareness and is itself the embodiment of a sentient, "breathing" being.

Adhering to the principles of simple gestures, formal repetition, and menial manual labor, his art emerged from the Dansaekhwa movement, a movement involving a group of Korean painters who emerged in the 1970s. In addition to conceptual exercises, he approaches his work materially by drawing primary media from the earth and transforming these media through ritualized repetition. The paintings put charcoal and hanji (a traditional Korean paper made from mulberry bark) through a thorough transformation process, resulting in abstract "landscapes": Changing and thought-provoking, the paintings evoke a sense of endless space.

The 6 works on paper featured in the exhibition, also created using native Korean materials, similarly explore themes of concealment, the passage of time, and authorial erasure integral to painting. Composed of repeated calligraphic phrases drawn directly onto Chinese characters, these works on paper are palimpsests of recorded self-erasing scripts. His paintings consist of thickly piled materials applied in such a way that the rough surfaces have three-dimensional relief - raised mounds and embedded grooves - where light and shadow can play infinite variations in tone and effect. The accumulations on the surfaces of his works appear geological rather than man-made, evoking glacial periods and the passage of time. His tranquil works are grounded in pure form and a direct connection to the mineral world, evoking feelings of emptiness and presence alike through marking and erasure.

Lee Jin-Woo
Date: 1 Jun – 7 Sep 2024
Gallery: White Cube
Address: 50 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong

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