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Lee Jaehyo

Investigations into chiaroscuro

The subject of landscape is central to the art of Lee Jaehyo. It is the life-blood of his art and it courses through all the animate objects that he creates. The man-made nails that he drives into calcified wood, on the contrary, exhibit his concern for death and destruction. The two sides of his nature represented in a living, breathing wood fashioned into ergonomic forms, and blackened, cosmic shapes onto which silvery patterns and meanings are articulated in silvery spikes, are given equal prominence in this exhibition.

It would be otiose to say simply that the two parts of the art of Lee Jaehyo describe the Yin and Yang components of his personality. They may so do, but I believe that the primary concern of this apparent division is with nature itself. Lee Jaehyo works through materials in order to articulate his formal sculptural language and he cooperates with nature, and has done so since his early experiments with icicles and dried leaves, in order to gain inspiration for his narrative. The natural world, and by implication the cosmos, which controls the behaviour of nature, can now be seen as two parts of a greater whole.

The harmony that exists within seeming disunity and which is a central Buddhist precept, is also crucial to an understanding of the intention of the art in this exhibition. It is implicit within the overarching dichotomy of life and death and it is apparent in the forms themselves. The charcoal cube, covered in haptic symbols, 0121-1110-1140813 (no.26), combines a perfect cubic form with a body of seemingly random information. The calcified wood totem, 0121-1110-113112 (no. 21) is particularly intriguing in this respect, in the manner in which the symbols congregate into eddies of implied significance. The undulating landscape piece, 0121-1110=114054 (no.20), which appears on the cover of the catalogue, is the most descriptive work in this series, and here symbolism is made to fit landscape, in the same way that it has been employed in the cause of cosmology in other works such as 0121-1110=114088 (no 22).

It is possible to speak of life affirmation in the case of the luscious, planed, wooden forms of the artist’s other distinct body of work. These sometimes giant shapes conjure up images of a natural world that overwhelm the senses. The rhapsody of nature that the artist unleashes seems barely contained within the strictures of the harmonious shapes that he creates. The intricate arrangement of line and circle, the building blocks of the language of art, is clearly articulated in a number of sculptures, but works particularly well in 0121-1110=111081 (no 12). In this example the egg form, associated with the origin of life, provides an elegant and proportionally apposite form for the binary language.  The upturned bell-shaped free-standing sculpture, 0121-1110=114022 (no 14) and amorphic 0121-1110=110028 (no 11) cross the three dimensional Rubicon and act as both sculpture and functional object. The former might be used as a table and the latter as a lounger. In fact, rather like the work of the super-star designer Mark Newson, these objects are not intended for practical use.

In the striking larch wood works, Lee Jaehyo returns to his organic roots. He engages directly with the colours, patterns and forms of nature, manipulating it to a far lesser degree. In 0121-1110=114086 (no 19) the circles of wood create a restful pattern, defined rather than constrained by the square picture format frame. Perhaps the most disarming work in the show is the juniper wood chair, 0121-1110=114082 (no 6), which is a welcoming cocoon, replete with what appears at first glance to be an animal pelt, but on further inspection is an artfully made abstract confection spread over an undulating form. But it also directs our attention once again to the subject of landscape.  These richly patterned works, of which 0121-1110=1140811 (no 4) stands out, marry the darkness of the calcified wood works with the efflorescent optimism of the planed wood forms. They appear, in short, to resolve the two parts of the artist’s personality and as such form a third oeuvre. Because while it is true that dark strata separate the lines and circles in the earlier series, in the more recent sumptuous constructions, the dark embellishments share the space with the light reliefs, an effect that appears to be deliberate rather than unavoidable.
The joy of the art of Lee Jaehyo is the unassuming manner in which he shares his profound and wide philosophical understanding of life in novel and at times prosaic forms, employing in the process, a rich array of materials to realise objects of great beauty.

Artists resume

Lee Jae-Hyo


1965 Born in Hapchen, Korea

1992 B.F.A in Plastic Arts, Hong-ik University


Solo Exhibitions

2015     The 42nd – M Art Center (Shanghai)

The 41th – Sohyang Gallery(Busan)

2014     The 40th – Pyo Gallery(Seoul)

The 39th – Albemarle Gallery(London)

The 38th – Gegjoo Literature House (Korea)

The 37th – BUNDO Gallery(Korea)

The 36th – M Art Center (Shanghai)

The 35th – HADA Gallery(London)

2013     The 34th – Ever Harvest Art Gallery (Taiwan)

2012     The 33rd – Madison Gallery(San Diego)

The 32nd – Albemarle Gallery(London)

The 31st – Parkryesook Gallery(Korea)

The 30th – DOSI Gallery (Korea)

The 29th – HADA Gallery(London)

The 28th – Sungkok Museum(Korea)

The 27th – Cynthia-Reeves Contemporary(Brooklyn, New York)

2011     The 26th – Albemarle Gallery(London)

The 25th – Galeria Ethra (Mxico)

The 24th – Galerie Noordeinde(Nederland)

The 23rd – Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts( Alabama)

2010     The 22nd – Yoon Gallery(Seoul)

The 21st – Albemarle Gallery(London)

The 20th – Nampo Art Museum(Korea)

The 19th – Kwai Fung Hin Gallery(Hong Kong)

The 18th – Cynthia-Reeves Contemporary(New York)

2009     The 17th – Gallery Sol Beach(Korea)

The 16th – Ever Harvest Art Gallery (Taiwan)

The 15th – Gallery Keumsan (Japan)

The 14th – Albemarle Gallery (London)

2008     The 13rd – MANAS Art Center (Korea)

The 12nd – BUNDO Gallery (Korea)

The 11st – DOSI Gallery (Korea)

The 10th – Cynthia-Reeves Contemporary(New York)

2007     The 9th – Gallery Keumsan (Japan)

The 8th – Gallery Artside (China)

The 7th – Gallery Keumsan (Korea)

2006     The 6th – Gallery Marin (Korea)

2005     The 5th – Gallery Artside (Korea)

2003     The 4th – Gallery Won (Korea)

2001     The 3rd – Vermont Studio Center (USA)

2000     The 2nd – Ilmin Museum of Art (Korea)

1996      The 1st – Museum of Seoul Arts Center (Korea)


Selected Group Exhibitions

2015      Donations Exhibition ‘I Dream’(Avenuel Art Hall)

2014      2014 International Fire Sculpture Festival in Jeongseon(Samtan Art Mine-Korea)

Jeonbuk Artshow 2014(Sori Arts Center of Jeollabuk-do)

The Nature(Cyan Museum-Korea)

The Creation(Samtan Art Mine-Korea)

2013      Art of Nature(Opera Gallery-Dubai)

The Wood-of tree, from tree(Chung Mun Kyu Museum)


Dubai Art-fair(Dubai)

Hommage a Whanki(Whanki Museum)

Seek & Desire(Gyeongnam Art Museum)

Contemporary Art in the Textbook(Aram Museum)

Taiwan International Sculpture Symposium(Taiwan-Kaohsiung)

2012      International Desert Art Project 2012(India-Jaipur)


Korean Eye(Saatchi Gallery-London)

Aqueous(Albemarle Gallery-London)

Contemporary Korean Art Since the 1990’s(Korea)

China International Gallery Exposition(Beijing)

Design Days Dubai(Dubai)

A Magic Moment(Basel Art Center)

Water(HADA Gallery-U.K)

2011      International Sculpture Symposium in Icheon(Icheon)

Moving Art Village(Nampo Art Museum)

Hong Kong Art Fair 2011 (Hong Kong)

Art Paris 2011 (Paris)

SOFA New York 2011 (New York)

Gotenyama Exhibition(Ippodo Gallery, Gotenyama)

2010      2010 Korea Tommorrow(SETEC)

The Seoul Art Exhibition 2010(Seoul Museum of Art)

G20 Seoul Summit Celebration Exhibition for the Korean Fine Arts(National Assembly Library)

Art Docking Spot(Woomyoung Art Museum)


Hongik Sculpture Exhibition(Triennale di Milano Incheon Museum)

Taipei Art Fair(Taipei)

Shanghai Art Fair(Shanghai)

Lee Jaehyo & Lee Jungwoong Exhibition(Beacon Gallery)

Arcades Project(Inter Alia Gallery)

San Francisco Fine Art Fair (Fort Mason Center-San Francisco)

Hong Kong Art Fair (Hong Kong)

Art Chicago (Merchandise Mart-Chicago)

Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair (New York)

Multi Effect (Gallery Ihn)

30th Anniversary of the Young Korean Artists (National Museum of Contemporary Art)

Korea Galleries Art Fair (BEXCO)

Living Art Fair (COEX)

Arts and Crafts Collaboration(Icheon World Ceramic Center)

2009       A Korea& Singapore Joint Sculpture Exhibition(Singapore-Botanic Garden)

Yangpyeong Environmental Art(South Han River)

Touchart Book Artists(Touchart Gallery)

Korea International Art Fair (COEX)

Art Fair Taipei 2009 (Taiwan)

Like of Yves Saint Laurent(Gallery Artside)

Korean Aesthetics (Albemarle Gallery-U.K)

Mad for furniture (Nefspace)

Hong Kong Art Fair (Gallery Keumsan)

Korea Galleries Art Fair (BEXCO)

Step of a Bull (Jang Eun Sun Gallery)

The Great Hands (Hyundai Gallery)

2008        Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary (Museum of Arts and Design-New York)

Korea Now: Emerging Korean Art (ArtLink-Israel)

Sanghai Contemporary Art Fair (Sanghai)

Taiwan International Wood Sculpture Art Exhibition (Sanyi Museum-Taiwan)

Between the Art and Space (Doosan Construction & Engineering Model House)

Korea Space Design Festival 2008 (Old Seoul Station)

Korea International Art Fair (COEX)

Daegu Art Fair (EXCO)

Art Museum the Traveling (National Museum of Contemporary Art)

Living Design fair (COEX)

Contemporary Neo_metaphor 2008 (Insa art center)

Seoul Art Fair (BEXCO)

Opening 10th Busan Municipal Museum of Art (Busan Municipal Museum of Art)

Changwon Asian Contemporary Art Exhibition (Changwon Art Hall)

Circle & Square (N Gallery Planning Invitation Exhibition)

2007         Five space & I (Moran museum of art)

Lee jaehyo,Park seungmo,Chio taehoon Group Exhibition (Manas art center)

From Dot to Dot (Whanki Museum)

Living Design fair (Designer’s Choice-COEX)

Beijing Art Fair (China)

Tuning Boloni (China)

2006         Simply Beautiful (Centre PasquArt, Biel-Switzerland)

Art Canal (River Suze-Switzerland)

EHS Project (Cheonggyecheon-Seoul)

China International Gallery Exposition 2006 (Beijing-China)

Alchemy of Daily Life (New Zealand)

Vibration (EBS Broadcasting Exhibition Hall)

2005          Vibration (Seoul City Art Museum)

Hyogo International Competition of Painting (Hyogo Prefecture Museum of Art-Japan)

Art & Mathematics (Savina Museum)

2004           A Open Commemoration the Olympic Museum (Olympic Museum)

100% Propose (Gallery Sea&See)

Imjin River (The Side of Imjin River)

Alchemy of Daily Life (National Museum of Contemporary Art)

Wave (Gallery Dosi)

2003           Out of Wood (Kim Chong-Yung Sculpture Museum)

The Happy Sympathy Between Human and Wood (Daejeon Municipal Museum of Art)

Benchmarking Project (Namsan Park)

40`s Artist (Gallery Moro)

Art Bench (Art Side)

2002           To Became One with Nature (YungEun Museum)

International Environmental Art Exhibition a Red-bellied Frog’s Cry (Seoul Arts Center, Seoul)

DeulMok Association (Gallery Agio)

2001           Good Design Festival (COEX)

The Association of Asian Contemporary Sculpture (YungEun Museum of Contemporary Art)

Lee Jae-Hyo, Han Sueng-Gon Exhibition (Hotel Lotte)

Water, Wood, Metal, Earth, Live (Insa Art Gallery)

1996~2000 40th Group Exhibition



2008    Prize of Excellence of 2008 Olympic Landscape Sculpture Contest

2005    Prize of Excellence of Hyogo International Competition of Painting

2002    Sculpture in Woodland Award

2000    Kim Sae-Jung Young Artist Prize

1998     Grand Prize Winner of Osaka Triennial

Winner of Young Artist of the Day Presented by the Ministry of Culture

1997     Grand Prize Winner of Invited Young Artist sponsored by Hankook Ilbo

1995     Win Special Recognition at Kongsan Art Festival


Permanent Collections

National Museum of Contemporary Art(Korea), Moran Museum(Korea),

Ilmin Museum of Art(Korea), Busan Municipal Museum of Art(Korea),

Gyeonggi Museum of Morden Art(Korea), 63 City Tower(Korea),

W-Seoul Walker-hill Hotel, Borgata Hotel(USA), Park Hyatt Hotel Shanghai(China),

Osaka Contemporary Art Center of Japan(Japan), MGM Hotel(USA),

Hyogo Prefecture Museum of Art(Japan), Intercontinental Hotel(Switzerland),

Briton Place-UMU Restaurant(UK), Sculpture in Woodland(Ireland),

Grand Hyatt Hotel(Taiwan), Park Hyatt Hotel Washington D,C(USA),

Marriott Hotel(Korea), Cornell University Herbert F. Johnson Museum(USA),

Grand Hyatt Hotel Berlin(Germany), President Wilson Hotel(Swiss),

Phoenix Island(Korea), Pusan National University Hospital(Korea), Industrial Bank(Taiwan)

Crown Hotel(Australia). Park Hyatt Hotel Zurich(Switzerland),

Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial(Japan), IFC Seoul Hotel(Korea).



Expositions of the artist