(Korean, B. 1967)
Between Red 139
signed in Korean; signed and titled 'SEA HYUN LEE Between Red 139' in English; dated '2011.07' (on the reverse)
oil on linen
150 x 150 cm. (59 x 59 in.)
Painted in 2011

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Felix Yip
Felix Yip

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Lot Essay

Lee Sea-Hyun received his second MFA from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, in 2006. He received his first MFA from the Graduate School of Hongik University, Seoul, in 2001. After uncovering of his notable series of red landscape paintings, it didn't take long for him to receive global attention from many notable institutions and organizations. His paintings are collected by highly reputed collectors and institutions for their quality and can be found in the following collections: the Uli Sigg Collection, Zurich; the Burger Collection, Zurich; the Bank of America, Boston. Lee also has participated in numerous international exhibitions at the crucial institutes such as Minsheng Art Mueum, Shanghai; Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul; Furini Arts Contemporanea, Arezzo, and among many others.
Lee has been successfully developing his unique style of red landscape, carefully devised in choosing color and topics. To Korean, especially a generation who received a heavy anticommunist education including the artist himself, the color red immediately manifests the red complex and social taboo. By using red, the artist unveils his emotional state and perception on utopia dystopia most dramatically, along with the reality of division and the inner side of natural scenery. Lee's ongoing Between Red series was begun with depicting the Demilitarized Zone, known as DMZ that cuts across the Korean Peninsula, acting as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. Lee then went on to depict disappearing scenery of Korea due to rampant development. Between Red 139 (Lot 1443) shows his current phase of the series. It is most likely a schematic diagram illustrating numerous things about Korea. It comments on Korean's agony derived from the reality of a divided nation which people lives in, and provides us with an opportunity to reilluminate those beautiful mountains which are overshadowed by enormous urban buildings. The scenery he depicts in this painting shows a disappearing utopia, while revealing a dystopia caused by human's massive destruction. Besides the abundant connotations, his painting is also visually fascinating, which is achieved through the eye catching red color and the manipulation of perspective. Lee incorporated the Asian tradition of flat landscape with traditional Western perspective, by merging these two elements together; the result is an uncanny effect on the individual patches of perspective landscape. As such these landscapes are set against a larger stretch of flat non-perspective landscape and evokes within the viewer a psychological fear and longing.

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