Lee Sea Hyun

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Lee Sea Hyun

11 January – 15 February 2020

The Columns Gallery is proud to present Lee Sea Hyun’s first solo show in Singapore with a breathtaking series of large landscape paintings rendered in delicate washes of red.


Lee Sea Hyun’s epic series of poetic landscape paintings, rendered in great washes of red, seem simple at first glance and resemble depictions of traditional Korean landscapes; shards of white canvas contrasting with painstakingly detailed fragments of land dotted with isolated dwellings. In fact, the artist drew and painted the landscape from his memories of his time in military service where his primary responsibility was to survey the Korean Demilitarized Zone at night through infrared glasses.

Large strips and rows of unmarked and unpainted territories meander between the islands of red. These empty spaces are set harshly against the commanding red fragments, which only makes the series more compelling. It is the fragments of the paintings that bring to mind compound dualities and a vast landscape characterized by inconsistencies and fissures, which are fascinating both aesthetically as well as conceptually. The paintings combine critical elements of North and South Korean mountains and the symbolic red color works to pass across Lee’s intended message. The paintings may appear to have a political overtone, but it is in fact Lee’s expression of the past and the losses that have occurred in his lifetime. As such, they are deeply personal pieces that reference two main ideas, utopia and melancholy.