Kangwook Lee completed an M.F.A. and B.F.A at Hongik University in Seoul. His work is widely recognized in Korea and Japan attracting many enthusiastic collectors and he has been awarded most of major domestic prizes since his early days in art school. Kangwook Lee also completed an MA in fine art at Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2011 and is currently studying for a professional doctorate in Fine Art at the University of East London. He has recently exhibited at his solo show at Asia House and Hada Contemporary in London. I have represented the subject related to my practice through a study of biology or physics in which the macro and micro space have similar patterns of movements. Recently, my interest was drawn towards an ancient Hindu philosophy called the "Upanishads". According to the Upanishads, the world is symbolized by two different concepts -one being 'Brahman' and the other 'Atman'. The Brahman indicates the Universal spirit and it is absolute infinite existence and a basic essence of the cosmos. The Atman signifies an individual self and the soul of a living creature, in particular that of a human being. An intriguing point here is that in ancient India, people believed that the human body is connected with unparalleled cosmic significance and parts of the body are homologized with cosmic phenomena. Ultimately, the opposite factors are the same. I found this to be a very similar notion to my previous approach whereby two extremely opposite scales show similar patterns and images of movements or forms, and this is perfectly explained by the Upanishads. Whilst his previous paintings emphasized the paradoxical resemblance of the microscopic world and cosmic space, Lee's recent paintings seem to explore a kind of universal order innate in these opposite worlds, allowing controlled yet self-generating patterns and forms to extend what the artist has started with the initial composition. The paintings sustain abstract forms which Lee has skillfully executed, but their subsequent developments seem purposefully encouraged, making organic yet ordered growths possible. Furthermore, it is noticeable that Lee engages his own physical existence in his latest paintings, marking gestures and bodily movements in several heavily executed pencil lines. Painting seems to be the right medium for Lee, where its limitation becomes a necessary condition for his controlled yet open-ended creation.
Text courtesy Arario Gallery.
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