In April 2022, Lee Ufan Arles, the permanent exhibition center of South Korean artist Lee Ufan, is due to open at the Vernon Hotel in Arles, France, according to Studio Lee Ufan.
The Vernon Hotel, a private mansion built between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, was acquired by the Lee Ufan Foundation in 2016. Its three floors were redesigned by the renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando into an exhibition space with meditation and reception areas, a restaurant, and a bookstore.
While the Lee Ufan Arles will be a center that features the artist’s works, it will also expand its role and become a place that supports various artistic and cultural activities, the Lee Ufan Foundation explained to Gomet’, a French media platform.
The center is the third major venue for the presentation of the artist’s works. The first is the Lee Ufan Museum in Naoshima, Japan, opened in 2010, and the second is Space Lee Ufan at the Busan Museum of Art, Korea, opened in 2015.
With the new exhibition center getting ready to open, fourteen new artworks by the artist are currently on view across the historic Roman necropolis of Alyscamps in Arles under the title Requiem. The exhibition opened on October 30, 2021, and will run until September 30, 2022.
Curated by Alfred Pacquement, the former director of the National Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Relatum and Dialogue, two of the artist’s ongoing series with other sculptures and paintings, take the location into account and build meditative dialogues around this site.
In the Relatum series, which began in 1972, Lee arranges steel plates, which are artificially manufactured industrial materials, with natural stones in an existing space to unveil a network of relationships between matter, time, and space.
The Dialogue series are paintings that has been continuous since 2006. Lee places a limited number of brushstrokes using mineral pigments on canvas to reveal a relationship juxtaposing presence and absence.
Requiem was organized as part of the city’s events to commemorate the fortieth year of its Roman heritage Alyscamps being listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Painter, sculptor, writer, and philosopher Lee Ufan (b. 1936) moved to Japan in 1956 and became one of the leading theorists and practitioners of the Japanese Mono-ha (School of Things) art movement, which began in Tokyo in the mid-1960s. Lee was also a key figure who introduced Dansaekhwa, an art movement that thrived in South Korea during the 1970s, to a wider audience.
Lee Ufan has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, including Dia Beacon, New York (2019), Serpentine Galleries, London (2018), the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2011), and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul (1994). He was awarded the Praemium Imperiale for painting in 2001 and the UNESCO Prize in 2000. He lives and works in Kamakura, Japan and Paris, France.