endless attempt…


Sea Hyun Lee’s work is concerned with vanishings; his paintings are of a lost past, of disappearing landscapes and eroding memories.

Between Red-39, 2008 Oil on Canvas 200 x 200 cm by Sea Hyun Lee.

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The landscape no longer exists, and so I have to paint it.” – Sea Hyun Lee

Between Red-10, 2007 Oil on Canvas 600 x 100 cm by Sea Hyun Lee.

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The series “Between Red” is at first glance overwhelmingly simple.

Between Red-44, 2008 Oil on Canvas 200 x 200 cm by Sea Hyun Lee.

A series of landscape paintings is rendered in delicate washes of red. Large swaths of unmarked white meander between islands of crimson land.

Between Red-46, 2008 Oil on Canvas 200 x 200 cm by Sea Hyun Lee.

Despite their distinctly political engagement – the paintings combine elements of both the North and South Korean mountains, and employ the deeply symbolic color of red – Lee’s paintings are unlikely to strike the viewer as either political statements or aesthetic calculations. They are primarily deeply personal works that reference Lee’s own sense of the past and its losses. Here, Lee tarries with two familiar ideas: nostalgia and utopia. But he avoids approaching either with mere simplicity or mere skepticism. Instead, his paintings are infused with a sophisticated sense of nostalgia, and a wry idea of utopia.

Sea Hyun Lee’s paintings are never simply about the longing to recover the past. They are, instead, about the very process of reconstitution itself. They are concerned with a trauma that is not necessarily located in the past, but that is perhaps instead located in the endless attempt to recapitulate the past.

NOTE :

Between Red-45, 2008 Oil on Canvas 200 x 200 cm by Sea Hyun Lee.

The mountains that exist in Sea Hyun Lee’s work are of actual mountains that had existed in Korea but have been altered by commercial development.  His countless hours spent staring at the DMZ with night-vision goggles also impact the cloud-like nature of his visually stunning work.

Sea Hyun Lee describes being in this DMZ area at night while on military service: “I would wear night vision goggles, which coated everything in red. The forests and trees felt so fantastic and beautiful.

Sea Hyun Lee was born in Geoje Island, South Korea in 1967. Graduating from M.F.A Chelsea College, London in 2006, he currently lives and works in London.

Between Red-33, 2007 Oil on Canvas 400 x 250 cm by Sea Hyun Lee.

tarry |ˈtarē|verb – stay longer than intended; delay leaving a place. ORIGIN Middle English : of unknown origin.

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