Ala Champ
 
00:00/

Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel

Where the Creative Jetset Stay and Locals Hangout in Downtown Los Angeles

PARKHOTEL MONDSCHEIN

A Rich Cultural History Combined with a Refined Design Aesthetic at this Modern Luxe Hotel

FUFU KYOTO

An Intimate Luxury Hotel that Entwines Traditional Japanese Dining, Architecture and Hospitality with Modern Elegance

JACQUEMUS PARIS

A Pure Interior Led By Playfulness and Surprise

The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre

The Charred-Brick 'Black Box' Presenting The Beauty Of Theatre & Performance

GAIA

British Artist Luke Jerram’s Explores The Vastness of Our Earth

Honouring ISSEY MIYAKE

The Legacy Remains: Merging Art & Fashion, East & West, Tradition & Technical Innovation

UNITED PLACES BOTANIC GARDENS

Local and Luxurious, A Melbourne Boutique Hotel That Gets It Right

Naoshima Ryokan ROKA

Designed by Okayama-based studio Nottuo, a New Modern Stay on Japan’s ‘Art Island’

Restaurang ÄNG

NORM Architects Creates A Light-Filled Glasshouse For The Michelin-Starred Restaurant

JAPANESE CRAFTSMANSHIP: BAMBOO WEAVING

In The Quiet Backstreets Of Kyoto's South Higashiya, Find A Master Craftsman

HOMME PLISSÉ ISSEY MIYAKE SS23

As Ever, The Joy Of Movement & Ease of Pleats Prevails

Serpentine Pavilion 2022

Artist Theaster Gates Designs the 21st Pavilion

BRUT-AL

Argentinian-Australian Designer Alexander Lotersztain's Ode to Brutalism

Serpentine Pavilions 2000-2021

A Champ Online Retrospective Of Two Decades of The Radical Architectural Event

PURE FORM

The Art Gallery of South Australia Presents Japan's Avant-Garde Ceramics

Lee Ufan, 15th Anniversary Of The National Art Center, Tokyo

A Major Retrospective in Tokyo: The Beauty of Reduction, Repetition and An Ongoing Dialogue of Presence

October, 2022
Lee Ufan, Relatum-The Mirror Road 2021 /2022 Collection of the artist | Photo by Noriko Yamamoto

For all you think you may know about the artist Lee Ufan’s work, think again. Commonly known as a founding member of the renowned Mono-ha art movement, artist Lee Ufan’s work that spans over half a century now, is nothing short of layered with depth within its visual minimalism.

Currently on view at The National Art Center, Tokyo, find a major retrospective of the artist presenting his expanse of works from his wide-ranging career beginning in the 1960’s to brand new, unseen works. From early representative works such as paintings (pink fluorescent paint on canvas) Landscape I, IIIII (1968/2015), to his more known, ongoing Relatum works (stone, steel and glass), and furthermore extending to recent works that have tended to be increasingly site-specific, as exemplified by Relatum – Dwelling (B) (2017/2022) (also found at the La Tourette monastery in France) comprised of stone tiles both carefully laid across the floor and piled together as sculptures. Visitors are able to walk across the installation, creating the sound of crackling stone, and magnifying the experience of being within the artwork itself.

Renowned as a leading figure in Mono-ha (translated as “School of Things”, one of the most significant art movements in postwar Japan, founded during the late ’60s), Lee’s work presents an undeniable beauty in reduction, repetition and the ongoing dialogue of presence  all with a thread of correlation between each piece utilising raw materials. His exploration of the relationship between an viewer and object, object and object, object and space, are always present. Lee’s involvement as an integral member of Mono-ha also included extensive writings, his essay From Object to Being was awarded the Bijutsu Shuppan-sha Art Criticism Prize in 1969, and his book The Art of Encounter, became the theoretical pillar for Mono-ha.

The current major exhibition in Tokyo (the largest retrospective of the artist since 2005, at the Yokohama Museum of Art in Japan) assembles his most important works yet presents the full trajectory of his artistic career, some including his earliest pre-Mono-ha pieces. Even for those familiar with Lee’s work, it is a rare chance to see his early works recreated for the exhibition. One work on display titled Relatum (formerly System A) (1969/2022) steel and cotton, can also be traced back to 1969 in Relatum (stone and cotton) presented at a solo exhibition in Tokyo’s Tamura Gallery in 1970. In addition, Relatum (formerly Things and Words) comprised of three pages of white bare canvas placed on the floor, previously shown in 1969.

Being to physically experience Lee’s works in person is transformative. His sculpture series Relatum  which reimagined the concept of sculpture — hold an incredible presence in their scale and composition. One such being the outdoor installation Relatum – The Arch (2014/2022) featuring an arching elliptical curve of stainless steel positioned by two natural stones. Underneath, visitors are able to walk over the second stainless steel plate on the ground, creating a whole new immersive line of perspective and experience.

Through the final exhibition rooms, visitors are transported to Lee’s From Point and From Line, heralding a rhythmic repetition yet sense of control and restraint, compared to the expressive rough brush stroke paintings of the series; From Winds, With Winds, Correspondence. These earlier iconic works created from the late 70’s with mineral pigment and glue on canvas, provide a significant contrast to his more recent Dialogue (2020) and Response (2021/2022) paintings created with acrylic  their smooth texture emphasising their vibrational ripples.

Yet it is the site-specific painting Dialogue – Wall Painting (2022) that perhaps perfectly encapsulates Lee’s artistic trajectory to date. Created especially for the show and directly painted by Lee on the National Art Center’s last room wall, it’s a spectacular finale for the retrospective, allowing visitors to fully grasp the scope of one of the world’s leading contemporary artists of our time.

Lee Ufan, Relatum - Dissonance (2004/2022), | Collection of the artist | Lee Ufan | 15th Anniversary of the National Art Center, Tokyo, 2022 | Photo: JK
Lee Ufan, Relatum - She and He (2005/2022) stone and steel | Collection of the artist | Lee Ufan, 15th Anniversary of the National Art Center, Tokyo, 2022 | Photo: JK
Even if the self is finite,
the infinite appears in our relation to the world around.
Artistic expression is a revelation of an infinite dimension.
Lee Ufan
Lee Ufan, Relatum-Dwelling (B) (2017/2022) Collection of the artist | Photo by Noriko Yamamoto
Lee Ufan, Dialogue - Wall Painting (2022) acrylic on wall | Collection of the artist | Lee Ufan, 15th Anniversary of the National Art Center, Tokyo, 2022 | Photo: JK
Lee Ufan, Dialogue - Wall Painting (2022) acrylic on wall | Collection of the artist | Lee Ufan, 15th Anniversary of the National Art Center, Tokyo, 2022 | Photo: JK
Lee Ufan, From Line (1980) Mineral pigment on glue on canvas | The Miyagi Museum of Art | Lee Ufan, 15th Anniversary of the National Art Center, Tokyo, 2022 | Photo: JK
Relatum (formerly Phenomenon and Perception B) (1968 / 2022) | Collection of the art | Photo by Noriko Yamamoto
Lee Ufan Relatum (formerly Phenomenon and Perception B) (1968/2022) | Production scenery at the National Art Center, Tokyo (2022) | Photo by Noriko Yamamoto
Artist Lee Ufan speaking at the Opening of his retrospective and the 15th Anniversary of the National Art Center, Tokyo, 2022 | Photo: JK
Installation view of Lee Ufan's Relatum - Escargot (2018/2022) (Collection of the artist) situated at the entrance of the National Art Center, Tokyo, designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa, first open in 2007 and now celebrating its 15th anniversary | Photo: JK (August, 2022)
Ala Champ Editor In Chief Joanna Kawecki stands beneath the work Relatum - The Arch (2014/2022) (Collection of the artist) at Lee Ufan, 15th Anniversary of the National Art Center, Tokyo, 2022 | Photo: JK

Lee Ufan, 15th Anniversary of The National Art Center, Tokyo
August 10 (Wed.) – November 7 (Mon.), 2022

The National Art Center, Tokyo
7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8558

At the opening ceremony Lee Ufan Photo by Noriko Yamamoto | Lee Ufan, 15th Anniversary of the National Art Center, Tokyo, 2022
October, 2022