Lee Ufan b. 1936


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Renowned for his minimalist painting and sculpture, Lee Ufan has dedicated his life to the arts. He attended the College of Fine Arts at Seoul National University before moving to Japan in 1956. After earning a degree in philosophy from Nihon University in 1961, Ufan explored artistic theory and criticism while further pursuing his creative practice.


Ufan was one of the founding leaders of the Mono-ha (School of Thing) group in the late 1960s. Mono-ha focused more on perceptions and the relationships of materials than on intervention or expression. The artist was invited to represent Korea in the Bienal de Sao Paulo in 1969 and 1973. In 1977, Ufan participated in Documenta VI in Kassel. Ufan later became professor emeritus at Tama Art University in Tokyo from 1973 to 2007.


In 2000, Ufan won the UNESCO prize at the Shanghai Biennale. He was also awarded the Ho-Am Prize by the Samsung Foundation in Korea in and the Praemium Imperiale (Painting) by the Japan Art Association in 2001. Ufan was later chosen to attend the first Artists Summit in Kyoto in 2005. The Lee Ufan museum was built in Setonaikai National Park in 2010 to showcase the artist's work. Ufan's 1980 painting sold for $140,000 that same year.


Lee Ufan's work is featured in numerous institutions and private collections around the world, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the MoMA; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the Tate Modern Gallery, London; the Sao Paulo Art Library, the Pinault Foundation, Venice and the Kunstmuseum Zurich in Switzerland. Recent solo exhibitions include the Chateau de Versailles, France (2014); the Asia Society Texas Center, Houston (2012); the Guggenheim Museum (2011) and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels (2008).


Related Categories: Minimalism, Mono-ha, Japanese art, Korean art, Contemporary art, Asian art, Sculpture, Modern Art