Hyundai Card First Look

Lee Seung Jio

Jun 1–Fall 2024


Lee Seung Jio. Nucleus F-G-999. 1970. Oil on canvas, 63 3/4 × 63 3/4" (162 × 162 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds, and gift of Richard Roth, Kukje Arts and Cultural Foundation, and Miyoung Lee
  • MoMA, Floor 3

Lee Seung Jio helped propel Korean art into the future. In 1962 he cofounded the Origin Group of avant-garde artists, seeking to develop a transnational modernism in the aftermath of the Korean civil war, a period of political upheaval and breakneck industrial and economic development. Lee experimented with ways of conveying the experience of the nuclear age and the changing world around him with geometric abstraction.

The artist was inspired to begin painting his Nucleus series after a train ride on a newly constructed railway near Seoul. “While I closed my eyes and contemplated for a moment, something passed through my retinas in a flash,” he recalled. “As soon as I arrived home, I stayed up for two nights straight and manipulated the image that remained in my mind.” For Nucleus F-G-999, Lee meticulously applied color using a flat brush and masking tape, sanding down each layer to create a pulsating field of light. The resulting picture resembles metallic pipes, fluorescent tubes, fuel rods, and electric or even musical vibration.

  • This installation is part of Hyundai Card First Look.
  • The exhibition is made possible by MoMA’s partner Hyundai Card.


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