Lee Jeonglok, ‘Tree of Life #1’, 2007, Phillips

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Image/Sheet: 119.9 x 160 cm (47 1/4 x 62 7/8 in.)
Frame: 126 x 166 cm (49 5/8 x 65 3/8 in.)

From the Catalogue:
In creating his Tree of Life series, Lee Jeonglok contemplated the visible and the invisible and aimed ‘to metaphorically describe the vitality of a tree with light.’ His unique process for making these evocative photographs is analogue based and involves the use of artificial lights.

To create Tree of Life #1, the first work produced with his new technique, certain conditions were required – the shoot had to take place at night, in dense fog, without any wind. The artist installed two 4 x 5 inch large-format cameras, determined the exposure, then covered the cameras with black fabric without closing the aperture. Once the scene was dark, he removed the fabric, approached the tree and repeatedly popped a strobe towards the camera from the tree between 200 and 300 times. He concluded the process by shining a strong searchlight at the tree. The long exposure time varied from two to ten hours, during which the lights would be captured gradually, resulting in a haunting image of a bioluminescent tree. Works from Tree of Life are held at the Korean National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Gwangju Museum of Art, Gwangju; Daelim Museum, Seoul; and Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: Signed and dated in ink, printed title, date and number AP1 on an artist label affixed to the reverse of the frame. This work is AP1 from the sold-out edition of 3 + 2 AP. This image is sold out in all sizes and editions.

The Time of Resonance, Arario, Beijing, China, 4 March - 6 April 2008
On the Cutting Edge: Aspects of Korean Contemporary Photography, National Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan, 17 July - 12 September 2010
The Moment, 63 Sky Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea, 7 November - 3 December 2010
Secret the Margin of Error, Busan Museum of Art, 8 September - 27 November 2011
For other prints

Lee Jeonglok, The Mythic Scape, Seoul: Trunk Gallery, 2017, n.p.

About Lee Jeonglok

Lee Jeonglok explores the diversity and spirit of the Korean landscape and national identity with nonspecific, dream-like photographs that reveal the invisible yet essential elements of a scene. Created using long-exposure photography and both natural and artificial light, the “Tree of Life” series features seemingly bioluminescent trees, which appear to illuminate the hidden vitality of the natural world. The “Decoding Scape” series positions the phonetic letters of the Korean Hangul alphabet as hieroglyphs; they are meant to be contemplated and unraveled to uncover the meaning of nature and the Korean spirit. By melding the natural with the artificial, and the organic with the geometric, Lee visualizes the powerful yet imperceptible forces around us.

Korean, b. 1971, Gwangju, South Korea