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Sea-Hyun Lee (b. 1967)
Between Red-136
signed in Korean and English 'SEA HYUN LEE'; dated '2011.03'; titled in English (on the reverse)
oil on linen
150 x 150 cm. (59 1/16 x 59 1/16 in.)
Painted in 2011
Private Collection, Asia
Hong Kong, China, Art HK 2012, Asia One Section Solo Exhibition, 2012

Lot Essay

Lee Sea-Hyun's signature scarlet landscapes instantly catch the viewer's attention with its gloriously opulent imagery. A closer examination reveals that the paintings, of seemingly unnatural and unrealistic imagery, actually portray mountains, buildings, and towns of Korea in a hyper-realistic manner. With masterful dexterity, Lee's landscapes deliver a strong visual impact which upon further observation, slowly divulges something deeper, like a schematic diagram, revealing multiple facets of Korea and its culture.
Between Red , Lee Sea-Hyun's first major series, was conceived during his military service in the Demilitarized Zone, known as the DMZ that cuts across the Korean Peninsula, acting as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. During his guard duty at night time, Lee wore infrared goggles to secure night vision. The bizarre scarlet scene he saw through the lenses was perceived as a symbol of the historical wounds and the political reality of Korea, a divided country in the globe. After completing his military service, Lee began his ongoing Between Red series by depicting the scarlet scene of the DMZ. Then he went on to combine it with Korean traditional scenery, which is disappear ing rapidly due to rampant development. Between Red-136 (Lot 55) featured here, is a commentary on the reality of living in a divided nation and shows, at the same time, the tension in a scene of beautiful mountains overshadowed by high rise buildings. Lee's exquisite work resonates between what one can see between reality and history as well as the incongruity between nature and human society.
Between Red-136 intentionally challenges the viewer with a powerful visual force that is almost akin to a hallucination. It is effectively achieved through a vibrant red colourant elaborate manipulation of perspective. Lee incorporated the Asian tradition of flat landscapes with traditional Western perspective. Mixed together, it brings an uncanny effect with individual patches of perspective landscapes set against a larger stretch of a flat non-perspective landscape which brings a feeling of anxiety and yearning at the same time.
Born in Geojedo, Lee Sea-Hyun left Korea in 2003 for London where he earned his MA at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Since his graduation in 2006, Lee has exhibited extensively internationally, including 'Fold 07 Performance,' Tate Britain, London (2007), 'Reshaping the Landscape,' Neuberger Museum of Art, New York (2008), 'A Different Similarity,' Santral Istanbul Museum, Istanbul (2009), 'Plastic Garden,' Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing (2010), 'Cynical Resistance,' Canvas International Art, Amsterdam (2012), 'The Moment We Awe,' HOW Art Museum, Wenzhou (2013). Lee's paintings are collected by highly noted private collectors and public institutions around the globe: the Uli Sigg Collection, Switzerland: the Collection of Caralie Etroy, London; the Bank of America, Boston; and the collection of Lorraine & Barrick, Seattle, HOW Art Museum, Shanghai, LEEUM Collection, Samsung Museum of Art , Seoul, among many others.

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