Carte blanche for Lee Bae at the Guimet Museum, Paris

From September 18, 2015 to January 25, 2016, as part of the France-Korea year, the Guimet Museum (specialized in Asian art in Paris) proposes to discover the art of this country still unknown in France, through the work of Korean artist Lee Bae. An installation will be exhibited in the rotunda of the museum’s fourth floor.

Living and working in Paris since 1990, Lee Bae (born in 1956 in Chung-do, South Korea) has established a close connection with charcoal, a material that is at the very centre of his imagination, a material that is also so traditionally and symbolically important in Korean culture. His artistic approach includes performance, painting and drawing. At Guimet Museum, Lee Bae uses the space under the vault of the museum rotunda like a “contemporary cave”. His works combine perception of light and material, black and white opposition, and a reflection on Time.

In an interview to present the exhibition at the Guimet Museum, Lee Bae explains his work and choice of material :
When I arrived in Paris in February 1990, I found a studio in Pantin, in a former factory Seita. To paint, I wanted to buy materials in specialized shops and I was very surprised by the prices, I had little money (…). I hesitated a lot and near my studio there was a DIY store and building materials where I found bags of charcoal BBQ (…). Then, I remembered when I was student at the Fine Arts in Seoul, I started my work with charcoal and it was the same material. I also immediately realized that with a bag I could work one week, which was economic. (…). Initially, I used this charcoal like charcoal. And then, gradually advancing in my job, I bought a semi-transparent acrylic medium for fixing (…). I dipped coal in and when I drew it clung alone. I rubbed a lot and coal powder loaded the canvas, giving interesting material reliefs”.

Lee Bae installant l’œuvre du feu au MNAAG, 2015 Charbon et élastiques © Lee Bae / photo : Châlet Pointu

 Moreover, Lee Bae uses the white color as an ’empty nest of colors’: a nest because all colors enter into the white and the empty because they are all gone. The black and white are, by definition, extreme that keep both memory colors but in different ways.

An exhibition to discover as soon as possible at the Guimet Museum, for lovers of Korea and contemporary art or curious.

Capture d’écran 2015-10-11 à 22.30.56
© MNAAG / Conception graphique : Pauline Roy

Guimet Museum
6, place d’Iéna – 75116 Paris
Telephone : (+33) 01 56 52 53 00
Opening hours : everyday (except Tuesday), from 10am to 6pm
Official website : here.


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