The spectator is in front of a dark bark landscape, a rock landscape or an almost transparent aerial one. A veil seems to float, luring but impenetrable. The eye lingers, tries to go through the surface, finally it is also caught in the matter and taken elsewhere...
Deposits of time, emotion, colour and light, the artist’s works bring together strata of Hanji paper - thin, semi-transparent - and layers of wood charcoal - a matter made lighter by the burning process. Sometimes pigments, especially blues, are added.
Lee Jin Woo builds a space and time, a world of light; a universe where even storms and breezes are noiseless. In front of these rectangles and squares of matter, both rustic and refined, dense and mute, an original universal manifests itself. There is only what is and there is more… Mankind and its condition, aspirations, dreams, struggles are right there present in the strata, buried between the stones, the cracks of the rock, behind the dark sky or hidden by a light so bright, that in this moment, only light exists. Through his labour as primitive and knowledgeable as farming land, where furrows deepen, are covered, after each passage, where harvest is followed by another ploughing, by sowings, seasons, and History, Lee Jin Woon builds, adds, passes, erases and starts over.
Arte povera, minimalism, relation to void… Lee Jin Woo’s work falls in line - with his specific signature - into Korean contemporary tradition. What matters most here is the doing, with a modest matter, in dialog with nature in its widest sense. The heritage of the generation of Dansaekwha artists intersects with Lee Jin Woo’s knowledge of impressionism and its discourse through light.
Just like the eponymous little flower, yellow and with a discrete perfume, Eranthis announces spring, the beginning of a new cycle. Storms will settle, earth will open to let young shoots emerge, colour will unfold. Little by little, light will penetrate the cavities of the rock.
Born in Seoul (South Korea) in 1959, Lee Jin Woo regularly exhibits in Korea, China and Europe. His work is featured in the collections of the Musée Cernuschi in Paris and was presented in the museum’s exhibition Séoul-Paris-Séoul in 2015-2016 and very recently in the exhibition Escale coréenne. In 2016 and 2017, the Korean newspaper Chosun IIbo welcomed solo exhibitions of the artist in Seoul, which were immensely successful 2017 was also the year of his first personal exhibition in Japan at the BTAP Tokyo Gallery.
The Galerie Maria Lund has exhibited Lee Jin Woo at ASIA NOW 2018, during the 2016 and 2017 editions of Art Paris as well as the Art on Paper fairs (2010-2013, Brussels) and KIAF (2008-2011, 2015-2017, Seoul). In 2018, his work was presented at Art Basel, Hong Kong and Miami.
The French publishing house Actes Sud dedicated a monograph to Lee Jin Woo in 2016.
Along with the exhibition in Paris, the gallery Michel Soskine INC., Madrid, is welcoming the artist’s first exhibition in Spain.