South Korean sculptor and artist Jaehyo Lee is world renown for installations created almost entirely from natural stone. Drawing from Land Art, Arte Povera (also known as “poor art” a contemporary art movement), and minimalism, Lee, who majored in the Fine Arts at Hong-Ik University, aims to question the roots of form, its function, and its role within the natural world. Following down a different path from his Western contemporaries, who work with organic sculpture, Jaehyo’s eye is drawn towards large, and virtually untouched materials. The raw form of the material inspires him to play around with different techniques in order to transform natural stone into installations without tampering with either its texture or structure. Lee’s suspended stone installations, in particular, build upon one another. Within them, we frequently encounter one of two themes: Continuity and emptiness. We see that the artist has made a conscious effort to capture an otherwise unobtainable naturality. Out of tiny fragments have emerged sculptures that, while grandiose, are very much humble.
Art as Labour of Love
In Lee’s own words: “Until recently, my work has been about combining different materials and integrating them into geometrical shapes. Now, on the contrary, I put an emphasis on the materials themselves, and make them protrude. I just hope to reveal the beauty of what is usually seen but not noticed.” His artwork plays with the oft-contested boundaries between contemporary art and design, implying the notion of “labour.” The aesthetic of Lee’s artwork derives from the own sense of harmony, and establishes a realistic relationship with nature. He collects the stones he uses in his installations from along the sides of rivers and railway lines as opposed to quarries. His sole intention is to strengthen the idea of reflecting nature though his art. Among Jaehyo Lee’s many achievements is the Osaka Triennial Grand Prize. His work is on display at many a public and private museum collection throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. He still runs a studio in South Korea.
For more information: www.leeart.name