Wikipedia entry
Lee Ufan (Korean: 이우환, Hanja: 李禹煥, Korean pronunciation: [iːuhwan] born 1936 in Haman County, in South Kyongsang province in Korea) is a Korean minimalist painter, sculptor, and academic, known for innovative bodies of work emphasizing process, materials, and the experiential engagement of viewer and site, and critiques of European phenomenology. Having lived and worked in Japan for much of his professional life, Lee has been honored by the Japanese government for having "contributed to the development of contemporary art in Japan." His essay "Sonzai to mu wo koete Sekine Nobuo ron (Beyond Being and Nothingness – A Thesis on Sekine Nobuo)" is largely considered an originator of thought for the post-war Japanese art movement of Mono-ha ("School of Things") in the late 1960s and early 1970s. His writings, published in rapid succession from 1969, have sought to externalize the interface between ideas and sensibilities from the West, namely Western Europe and the United States, and those found in East Asia. Many commentators stress Lee's stated desire to escape, or refute, Western ideas of signification, for example. As the main theorist of the Mono-ha movement in Japan, Lee was trained as a philosopher. As a painter, Lee contributed to "Korean Monotone Art" (Dansaekjo Yesul, 單色調 藝術), the first artistic movement in 20th century Korea to be promoted in Japan. His work largely advocates for a methodology of de-westernization and de-modernization in both theory and practice as an antidote to the Eurocentric thought of 1960s postwar Japanese society. A self-proclaimed wanderer and lifelong cultural border-crosser, Lee divides his time between Kamakura, Japan, and Paris, France.
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Getty record
One of the major representatives of Mono-ha, a group of artists; teaches art theory at the University of Tokyo.
South Korean, Korean, British
Artist, Professor, Painter, Sculptor
Lee Ufan, 李禹煥, U-Fan Lee, Lee U Fan, Lee-U Fan, Ufan Lee, U-hwan Yi, U Fan Lee, Ukan Ri, Lee U-Fan
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License


4 works online



  • MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art Flexibound, 408 pages
  • MoMA Now: Highlights from The Museum of Modern Art—Ninetieth Anniversary Edition Hardcover, 424 pages

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