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Lee Jaehyo: Grass Flower — at HADA Contemporary

Once again, HADA Contemporary presents a familiar artist doing things you might not have seen before. Lee Jaehyo has shown his wooden sculptures and works featuring countless bent nails several times in London. But this is the first time I’ll have seen his work using stone.

Lee Jaehyo: Grass Flower

HADA Contemporary | 21 Vyner Street | London | E2 9DG |
1 May – 1 June 2014
Wednesday – Friday: 11am – 6pm | Saturday – Sunday: 11am – 4pm

Lee Jaehyo 0121-1110=1080620
0121-1110=1080620 (2008). Stone 285 x 151 x 520 cm

HADA Contemporary is pleased to present the second solo exhibition by Lee Jaehyo (b. 1965) presenting his significant installation work, 0121-1110=1080620 (2008), along with the recent nails on charred woods works. With strong emphasis on materials’ inherent nature, Lee’s practice ‘is about the material: everything begins and ends with the material…. I simply want to show the nature of common raw materials such as wood and nails… to discover a different way to present them.’

The extraordinary craftsmanship embracing the natural state of the material may it be woods, stones or nails, his organic and geometric constructions expose the often forgotten beauty of the conventional subjects. As the artist comments, ‘I do not have the power to create a beautiful world. I just hope to reveal the beauty in what is usually seen but unnoticed. If you look closely enough, a twisted rustic nail is also beautiful.’ In 0121-1110=1080620, the humble stones are assembled and rearranged to form a monument that assimilates the awe and sublime of the nature. The synergy of the artist’s artificial intervention with the natural evolution is essential to his materials and the artistic practice.

Mundane objects such as nails and woods transforms into novel entities through the artist’s painstakingly earnest and dexterous conversation with materials. Allowing the materials to unfold their innate natural state through his gentle and crafty manipulation, his sculptures from common objects reject any finite definition or interpretation. In fact, his endeavours are the invitation to the audience for the experience to the profundity that emits from the surfaces, forms, materials and the harmony emanated through the orchestration of all.

‘I want to make a work that does not require words… I think the greatest difference in the western and the eastern culture is the necessity for words. The key characteristic of the western visual culture is the debate, argument and attestation and to unravel the meaning carefully hidden behind the work. On the contrary, the eastern visual culture can be emphasised by the silence. Isimjeonsim (이심전심, 以心傳心). Every step of the process of making a work is the unification of the work and the artist.’ The concept Isimjeonsim – loosely translated as the connection of minds initially originated from the Buddhist scripture Compendium of the Five Lamplight Records (오등회원, 五燈會元, c. 1253) – elaborates on the idea of the silent communication through the senses and experiences that artist stresses as Buddha transmits the speechless wisdom to the disciple Mahakasyapa in the story of the Flower Sermon.

The vastness and magnanimousness of nature that inspire the artist’s dialogues with his materials endow his sculpture with a universality that engages anyone who wishes to venture beyond surface and object. As Laurencina Farrant-Lee observes, Lee ‘possesses strong emotional and spiritual ties to his native landscape and culture and draw from Korean aesthetics to sustain, complement and further their contemporary statement’ . It is the artist, the nature and the object in their interconnectedness and the cyclical nature of life that they embody that you encounter.

Lee Jaehyo (b. 1965) lives and works in Gyeonggido, South Korea. He received BFA at Hongik University in Seoul. He has exhibited internationally at National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; Seoul Museum of Art, Korea; Sungkok Museum of Art, Seoul; Saatchi Gallery, London; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Alabama; Nampo Art Museum, Korea, Ilmin Museum of Art, Korea; Basel Art Center, Switzerland among others. He was awarded with the Hankook Ilbo Young Artists Award in 1997; the Osaka Triennial Award in 1998; the Kim Sae-Jung Award in 2000; the Sculpture in Woodland Award in 2002 and the Japan Hyogo International Competition Award in 2004. His works are included in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; Hyogo Prefecture Museum of Art, Japan; Busan Metropolitan Art Museum, South Korea; and the Osaka Contemporary Art Center, Japan.

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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