Exhibition news: Lee Jeonglok and Lee Jinyong at Pontone Gallery

A double solo show at Pontone Gallery in July:

Lee Jeonglok — Parallel Worlds: Tree of Life & Nabi
Lee Jinyong — The Weight of Thought

30 June – 23 July 2017
Monday – Friday 10-7pm | Saturday 11-7pm | Sunday 11-6pm
Pontone Gallery | 43 Cadogan Gardens | London SW3 2TB
Tel: +44 (0)20 7730 8777 | www.pontonegallery.com

Pontone July

Lee Jeonglok — Parallel Worlds: Tree of Life & Nabi

Lee Jeonglok is a Korean artist who uses photography to create and record his world.

Lee Jeonglok: Nabi 34
Lee Jeonglok: Nabi 34 | 2015 | C-Type Print
(A) edition of 10: 90 x 120 cm (35.5 x 47 in) | (B) edition of 7: 120 x 160 cm (47 x 63 in)

He makes mysterious and evocative images of strange and magical events. These happen in carefully chosen, personally significant landscapes, realised by a thorough mastery of photographic technique.

The production of these pieces is a complex and painstaking process. These images are not made digitally, but by an ‘in camera’ technique. This means using long and multiple exposures, manipulating artificial light and deploying various props on site and in real time. The physicality and engagement of this process is important to the artist. He states that this effort allows him to reveal another, parallel world.

‘Nabi’, the butterfly, is a valued image and symbol. It is an interlocutor to the spiritual world, somewhere that is significant for this artist to locate and reveal in his work. This image, created out of light, multiplies into clusters and bunches, forming clouds that glow and sparkle in the landscape. Existing only for an instant, the length of a photoflash, these ‘Nabi’ express something other, a world conjured out of the artist’s perception and now revealed to us.

Lee Jeonglok references the following text as describing the essential sense of these haunting photographic pieces.

‘There is a hidden world.
Where souls live.
When fog of death falls,
The journey is charted.
On the timeless journey
A guiding light dances.
A light that has disappeared from conscious memory
But is seen in the selfless state.’

‘Journey of Souls’ by Michael Newton

Lee Jinyong — The Weight of Thought

Lee Jinyong is an award-winning, mid-career, Korean artist with an impressive CV of solo and group exhibitions.

Lee Jinyong: Hardbacks VII
Lee Jinyong: Hardbacks VII
2015. Oil on Canvas. 91 x 116 cm (36 x 45.5 in).

He has shown extensively in Korea and the United States, where his work is featured in many public and private collections. He has not, as yet, been seen in the UK. The Pontone Gallery is therefore delighted to represent him with his first, exclusive, solo exhibition in London.

His work takes the form of meticulous, wall-mounted constructions and ‘photo-realistic’ paintings. This description does not really do justice to the labour and focus required to make these startlingly tangible objects and images. His paintings, fastidiously rendered in oil on panel, are of antique books, worn and patinated by age and use. Their titles speak of art, literature, science and philosophy; conjuring up a singular weight of human thought and creativity. The sculptural pieces are composed of multiples of ceramic type-blocks depicting Korean ideograms. These are combined in their hundreds to make regularly shaped reliefs which, from a distance, form an undifferentiated surface. On closer inspection they reveal themselves to be the components of language. The pieces challenge the viewer to construct a story, to make sense of what may be random, to read a code, in short, to engage with language.

Lee Jinyong is fascinated by text and its classifications. His pieces are full of undeciphered and mysterious messages. The books are presented as seductively tactile relics, almost intimidating in the density of attention that the artist has granted them. The book itself has become physically important, the object is as profound as its potential message. His paintings make the book into a monument. The ceramic, stony and sgraffitoed surfaces of his constructions make association with archaeological objects. They can be read as messages from the distant past, attempted dialogues with departed civilisations.

The artist’s subjects are objects of personal significance, part of his life’s collection. They have, by virtue of his obsessive and highly skilled attention, become containers for expansive ideas about the importance of memory and the value of history in its many interpretations. These pieces suggest we look over our shoulders before moving on.

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