Born in South Korea and a student of philosophy in Japan, Lee Ufan was a famous proponent of the Japanese avant-garde movement of the 1960s Monoha ("school of things"). Exhibiting his painting and sculpture internationally, Lee has been based in Japan since 1956.
Lee has had many one-person exhibitions over the years, including those at the Tamura Gallery, Tokyo, in 1970 and 1974. Galerie Eric Fabre, Paris, in 1975, 1977 and 1980; Hyundai Gallery, Seoul, in 1978, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1994 and 1997; Louisana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark, in 1978; Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milano, in 1988; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, in 1994; and the Kamakura Gallery, Tokyo, in 1999. In 2001, Lee was awarded the Ho-Am Prize in the Arts, given by the Ho-Am Foundation (Leeum Samsung Museum of Art).