Lee Ufan, ‘From Winds’, 1986, Phillips

Property of an Important Asian Collector

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From the Catalogue:
Lee Ufan’s From Winds is a stunning work from the late eighties, and is a striking example from a rare series that lasted for a mere four years. Dominated by dense and coarse strokes, interspersed with loose, light lines, each mark is reminiscent of its title, as if strong gusts of wind have struck the canvas to create a serendipitous work. Although chance is a key element of Lee’s oeuvre, the artist’s praxis is not one that is void of philosophy and dexterity; rather, it is a premeditated relinquishment of control in order to connect with the canvas itself. As Lee maintains, 'The situation of one brushstroke…must become a living organism brimming with energy in its relationship with otherness' (In Lee Ufan, The Art of Encounter, London 2004, p. 15).

When compared to his earlier works from the seventies—dominated by the artist’s From Point and From Line series—From Winds is much less mechanical, owing to a shift in Lee’s artistic mode. Forgoing the systematic and repetitive procedures involved in his previous works, which emphasized repetition in pursuit of “marking infinity”, the From Winds series was in many ways a release, and featured carefree, dynamic, and unbridled strokes that engaged with the notion of empty space itself. Notably however, this particular From Winds is very rare in its execution when compared to counterparts in the same series—rather than loose flicks in a powdered cobalt colour, the present lot features linear, bold, horizontal lines in a pronounced off-black. Reminiscent of black coal pigments or even inks, From Winds is in many ways a transitional piece, one which evokes Lee’s methodical From Point and From Line works, as well as preempts his later, much more expressionist and gestural pieces.

Lee Ufan is a figure who has constantly been at the forefront of contemporary art. Having spearheaded Mono-Ha in the 1960s, and having deeply influenced the Korean Dansaekhwa style in its focus on the monochrome, Lee remains a pivotal figure and his works have been extensively exhibited worldwide, such as at the Guggenheim in New York, and his pieces are part of key collections in prestigious institutions including the Tate, London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Toyota Museum in Japan.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: signed and dated 'L. Ufan 86' lower right; further signed, titled and dated 'Lee Ufan From Winds 1986' on the reverse

Private Collection
Interalia Gallery, Seoul
Acquired from the above by the present owner

About Lee Ufan

A pioneer of the Japanese Mono-ha (School of Things) movement, Lee Ufan arranges his installations and sculptures to emphasize the equal relationship between the artwork, the viewer, and the space, a philosophy best illustrated by his “Relatum” series, a series of stretched canvases on the floor, each topped by a single stone. Ufan uses materials including glass, steel, rubber, and stones in shades that are usually subdued and often monochromatic. His paintings exhibit a similar logic, applying muted color on a light, plain background in a style reminiscent of East Asian calligraphy, whereby the brush stroke fades as it ends.

Korean, b. 1936, Seoul, South Korea, based in Kamakura, Japan; Paris, France

Solo Shows

2014
Moscow,
Lee Ufan
1999
Kamakura Gallery, 
Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan,
Lee Ufan
1993
Kamakura Gallery, 
Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan,
Lee Ufan
1990
Kamakura Gallery, 
Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan,
Lee Ufan
1985
Kamakura Gallery, 
Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan,
Lee Ufan

Group Shows

2018
Art Collection Nakano, 
Nagoya,
Best of Art Collection Nakano
1997
Kamakura Gallery, 
Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan,
Two Approaches
View Artist's CV