Lee Bae Korea, b. 1956


Lee Bae was born in 1956, Chungdo. He worked in Korea after graduating from Hongik University with B.A. Fine art. When Korean government liberalized overseas trips for the citizens, in 1989, he left to France, where every artist dreams for once. It was an important period not only for him since his art life was transited, but also for the world since it was a transition period, dreaming of change all over the world; the Berlin Wall was fallen, and the Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989 was taken place. In 1989, when he worked in Paris, a significant change in his work that came with much change in his perception was the development of ‘black’.


Several reasons for his black-covered canvas are assumed, but one thing clear is that what he believed in disappeared into the black surface as a wall collapsed through his unexpected experience in a new circumstance. Lee Bae's black work is a good example of being distinguished from other monochromatic works in that it is saturated by extremely compressing all realistic elements while the monochromatic painting style of Korean abstract art restrained the pleasure of form and color and sought to purify the mind.


In that sense, materiality is a very important factor in his work and 'charcoal' is a major material for Lee Bae. This is because of the nature of charcoal, which is reborn as new energy through the disappearance of incomplete combustion products that are burned down if the material of wood is not hard and only dense and hard wood remains to be converted into new energy. Entering 2000, the possibility of Lee Bae's black leads to the study of time beyond space, and the blackness of charcoal, which covered the entire screen, appears on the canvas in an ambiguous symbolic form as the dense black ink is mixed with a medium such as wax.


The wax medium series is a work that Lee Bae has been doing since 2004, creating a sense of thickness by layering. The process is reminiscent of Eastern ink and Hanji, or calligraphy, re-imagined with a modern physicality and sensibility. In the wax medium works, the beeswax takes up the white part, while in Western painting, the Matière becomes thicker with more brushstrokes, but the wax medium series uses an oriental painting technique that goes inward with more brushstrokes. The white part is filled with beeswax, not nothing, and especially in his wax medium works, the strokes drawn with black charcoal, which contain all the colors in the white margin, are like floating shapes and carry a sense of weight within.


Send me more information on Lee Bae

Please fill in the fields marked with an asterisk
Receive newsletters *

* denotes required fields

In order to respond to your enquiry, we will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy (available on request). You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in our emails.