Lee Seung Jio (1941-1990) is a pioneer of Korean geometric abstraction who emerged with the avant-garde group of artists in the 1960s. Lee co-founded the Origin Group alongside his contemporaries Suh Seung-Won and Choi Myoung-Young in 1962, a movement pursuing a return to the pure form of art. Lee also contributed to the formation of the AG (Korean Avant-Garde Association). Throughout his 25-year-long career, Lee established his own identity through the notion of ‘nucleus’ and developed his abstract pipe-like forms as an integral element to his paintings, visualizing the interaction between flat plane and optical depth.
Born in 1941 in Youngcheon, Pyeonganbuk-do, Korea, Lee Seung Jio graduated from Hong-Ik University with a BFA and MFA in Western painting. He won a number of significant awards including the Grand Prize in the Dong-A International Fine Art Exhibition, Special Prize in the Korean National Art Exhibition for four consecutive years from 1968 to 1971, and the National Prize in the 7th Cagnes-Sur-Mer International Painting Festival in 1975. Lee has participated in major exhibitions, such as the exhibition of the Origin Painting Association (1963-1970), the exhibition of the Korean Avant-Garde Association (1970-71), the 11th São Paulo Biennale (1971), and the 7th Cagnes-Sur-Mer International Painting Festival (1975). After his passing in 1990, Lee’s retrospective exhibitions were held in Ho-Am Art Museum, Korea (1991), Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (1996), and Busan Museum of Art (2000). Lee’s major retrospective is currently held at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Korea (2020).
Director Katherine Lauricella and Associate Director SoYoung Kim give a digital walkthrough of Tina Kim Gallery's 2020 exhibition, Lee Seung Jio: Nucleus
Flipping through the pages of Lee Seung Jio’s drawing book from 1967 reveals the origins of the artist’s central motif and details of his process. Engaging with Lee's sketchbook first-hand allows the rare opportunity to dig deeply into his precise, yet unconfined process of making.
Following his first solo exhibition in New York at Tina Kim Gallery, Lee Seung Jio is now the subject of a large-scale retrospective at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea.
"Lee Seung Jio: Advancing Columns" chronologically details Lee’s life-long artistic journey in pursuit of the essence or the “nucleus.”
In addition to some 90 paintings produced from 1968 to 1990 in response to the changing times, this exhibition introduces archival materials on the avant-garde group Origin and the Korean Avant-Garde Association (AG) of which Lee was a founding member, presenting their respective achievements in a new light.