Lee Inhyeon

Gaain Gallery

An integral member of Seoul 80, the flagship avant-gardist collective of the Korean contemporary-art scene circa 1980, Lee Inhyeon is the embodiment of the artist as intellectual. Lee’s first solo show in three years featured a dozen new works from the ongoing series he’s been working on since 1993, all with the Foucauldian title L’épistémè of Painting.

A prototypical work by Lee is a color-field painting that sets dark Prussian blue against the natural beige of unprimed canvas. The brown/ blue monochrome tradition in Korea has been the emblem of serious and respected scholar-painters since the era of ink paintings. Artists of the prior generation, such as Lee Ufan and Yun Hyong-Keun, often indulged in the subtlety of tonal variations within a single hue; their works were regarded as spiritual and noble owing to their solemn outlook. While Lee’s paintings are at the edge of such conventions

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