Lee Ufan

With Winds, 1990

Glue and mineral pigment on canvas
181.6 × 227.3 cm

“When I passively accept external winds, an even greater world is opened.” – Lee Ufan

Created at the pinnacle of the ‘With Winds’ era, this work exudes a vitality and charisma that characterized the works of this period. The strokes are chaotic here and changing their direction mid-way. It is visibly more frenzied and indefinable, calling on viewers to focus more on the metaphorical meaning of the work, which supplemented by artist’s great oeuvre of theoretical writing.

In 1989 Lee Ufan wrote: “How open the world, how suggestive […]! I want to enlarge and deepen the exchange with the exciting and stimulating outside world instead of soliloquizing and showing obedience to the dictatorship of expression”. Such a philosophical and aesthetic emancipation paved the way for Lee’s subsequent series, whose return to austere brushwork displayed ever-heightening internal and external resonance.

Following a four-year political exile from his country during which he was placed under close surveillance by the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, Lee moved to Kamakura, Japan and developed a new painting approach that prominently disrupted the strict regimentation of his earlier series. Lee’s epochal Winds decade marked an era in which the distinguished Dansaekhwa master gained indisputable international prominence.

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