Lee Jinyong is an award-winning, mid-career, Korean artist with an impressive CV of solo and group exhibitions. He has shown extensively in Korea and the United States, where his work is featured in many public and private collections. He has not, as yet, been seen in the UK. The Pontone Gallery is therefore delighted to represent him with his first, exclusive, solo exhibition in London.
His work takes the form of meticulous, wall-mounted constructions and ‘photo-realistic’ paintings. This description does not really do justice to the labour and focus required to make these startlingly tangible objects and images. His paintings, fastidiously rendered in oil on panel, are of antique books, worn and patinated by age and use. Their titles speak of art, literature, science and philosophy; conjuring up a singular weight of human thought and creativity. The sculptural pieces are composed of multiples of ceramic type-blocks depicting Korean ideograms. These are combined in their hundreds to make regularly shaped reliefs which, from a distance, form an undifferentiated surface. On closer inspection they reveal themselves to be the components of language. The pieces challenge the viewer to construct a story, to make sense of what may be random, to read a code, in short, to engage with language.
Lee Jinyong is fascinated by text and its classifications. His pieces are full of undeciphered and mysterious messages. The books are presented as seductively tactile relics, almost intimidating in the density of attention that the artist has granted them. The book itself has become physically important, the object is as profound as its potential message. His paintings make the book into a monument. The ceramic, stony and sgraffitoed surfaces of his constructions make association with archaeological objects. They can be read as messages from the distant past, attempted dialogues with departed civilisations.
The artist’s subjects are objects of personal significance, part of his life’s collection. They have, by virtue of his obsessive and highly skilled attention, become containers for expansive ideas about the importance of memory and the value of history in its many interpretations. These pieces suggest we look over our shoulders before moving on.
cv / exhibition history / awards
1961 Born in Busan, South Korea
BFA in Sculpture, Dong-A University, Busan, South Korea
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS2017 Lee Jinyong, Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul, South Korea2016 The Old Bookhouse, Hakgojae Gallery, Shanghai, China2015 5015.158.43, Gallery Bundo, Daegu, South Korea
2014 TRUNK|68m2, Gallery Baton, Seoul, South Korea
2012 Time Collected, Arario Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
2009 In My Memory, JHY Gallery, Busan, South Korea
2008 Arario Gallery, Cheonan, South Korea2005 LA Artcore, Los Angeles, USA
2004 The Nature in My Drawer, Park Ryu Sook Gallery, Seoul, South Korea2003 Open Studio, Gallery Sejul, Seoul, South Korea LA Artcore, Los Angeles, USA2002 LA Artcore, Los Angeles, USA
2001 Park Ryu Sook Gallery, Seoul, South Korea Gallery Yemac, Seoul, South Korea2000 LA Artcore, Los Angeles, USA
RECENT GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2015 Memories of Artistic Soul, Cheonan Arts Center Museum of Art, Cheonan, South Korea2012 Four o’clock, Haeundae Art Center, Busan, South Korea2011 ARTISTS with ARARIO 2011 - Part 2, Arario Gallery, Seoul, South Korea2010 ARTISTS with ARARIO 2011 - Part 2, Arario Gallery, Seoul, South Korea
Mind Game III, Andrew Shire Gallery, Los Angeles, USA2007 The Armory Show, New York, USA2006 The Room of Memory, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea2005 Traveling Art Museum, Dong-gu Cultural and Athletic Hall, Daegu, South Korea2004 5 Artists, Column Gallery, New York, USA
Mind Game II, Andrew Shire Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
2004 Gwangju Biennale: A Grain of Dust A Drop of Water, Gwangju Museum of Art Gwangju South Korea
Looking at the Atelier, Insa Art Center, Seoul, South Korea
Nam Kiho, Rhee Kibong, Lee Jinyong, Gallery Yemac, Seoul, South Korea
2004 New Acquisitions, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea2003 Sense & Sensibility, Busan Museum of Art, Busan, South Korea 20 Years Together, Park Ryu Sook Gallery, Seoul, South Korea