LEE UFAN

From Point, 1979

From Point, 1979

From Point belongs to the artist’s most celebrated body of work. This painting has been constructed in a disciplined, almost ritualistic way that is characteristic of Lee Ufan’s practice. Maintaining the consistency of the brushstrokes while varying the amount of paint and pressure applied, Lee keeps “expression to a minimum in order to achieve the maximum”. The hypnotic repetition of blue marks is created by the artist pressing a brush loaded with cobalt blue pigment that has been dissolved in glue, directly onto the surface of the canvas, then repeating the process until there is barely any pigment left on the filaments of the brush. He then reloads the brush with fresh pigment, before repeating the process again and again until the entire canvas is covered with the delicate lapis blue marks. 

The canvas’s surface has been painted in a translucent wash of yellow oil paint that highlights the deep blue of the lines, and the contrast between these colours makes the image appear to vibrate.

Lee Ufan
From Point, 1979
Pigment on canvas
91 x 116.7 cm (35 13/16 x 45 15/16 inches)

The linear uniformity of From Point, 1979 draws attention to the painting’s actual space, as the hazy pigment gently fades away the artist invites viewers to consider what comes after the end of the canvas as well. Ufan sees the pigment gradually becoming liberated from himself, fully exhaling space, and thus celebrating the reductive ideals of his philosophical home, the Japanese school of painting know as Mono-ha. 

From Point encourages the viewer to meditate on the nature of time through the act of viewing its multiple, repetitive brushstrokes. This investigation into the concept of infinity is present throughout Lee’s oeuvre, reaches its zenith in a painting such as the present example.

Lee Ufan
From Point, 1979 (details)
Pigment on canvas
91 x 116.7 cm (35 13/16 x 45 15/16 inches)

Lee Ufan

Lee Ufan became known in the late 1960s as one of the main theoretical and practical supporters of the avant-garde Mono-ha (Object School). The Mono-ha school of thought was the first contemporary art movement in Japan to gain international recognition. Mono-ha artists present works made from barely manipulated physical raw materials. In 1991, Lee Ufan began his Correspondence series of paintings, which consisted of just one or two gray-blue brush strokes, made of a mixture of oil and crushed stone pigment, applied over a large white area. The relationship between painted versus the unpainted space and occupied versus empty space is at the heart of Lee Ufan’s practice.

 

Lee Ufan
From Line, 1982
Oil on canvas
182 x 227 cm (71 5/8 x 89 3/8 inches)

Lee Ufan
From Line, 1977
Pigment on canvas
130 x 162 cm (51.8 x 63.7 inches)

MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

Lee Ufan: Open Dimension

HIRSHHORN MUSEUM, Washington
27.09.2019 – 13.09.2020
hirshhorn.si.edu


LEE UFAN: Marking Infinity

SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, New York
24.06.2011 – 28.09.2011

guggenheim.org

LEE UFAN: INHABITING TIME

CENTRE POMPIDOU, METZ
27.2.2019 – 30.9.2019
centrepompidou-metz.fr

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