It is impossible not to mention Nam-june Paik when the history of video art is discussed. The pioneer of video artist, Nam-june Paik is the most well-known Korean artist and he is a great senior, mentor and the ideal for most of media artists in Korea. For the internationally acclaimed Korean media artist, Lee Lee Nam, whose artworks will be exhibited at the KCC Gallery, Nam-june Paik is an artist he most respects. Lee Lee Nam is well known for his iconic style of video art that breathes new life into famous classic paintings. Lee Lee Nam: Digitally Traditional will introduce the creative and imaginative video art world of Lee Lee Nam, focusing on traditional Korean ink painting masterpieces re-interpreted by the artist in a contemporary video art form.
Breathes into Korean traditional ink paintings
Lee Lee Nam said he borrowed the images from classic paintings to make contemporary art
friendlier for the public after he found the intimacy that people feel being in front of an artwork with deep and serious philosophical discourses. Following these intentions, KCO has decided to bring Lee Lee Nam’s artworks, particularly focusing on the works based on traditional Korean ink paintings in order to introduce traditional Korean paintings in a more approachable way for Australian audiences. Lee Lee Nam breathes new life into masterpieces created in the Joseon dynasty (1392 – 1920), Korea by using his signature skills. The butterflies are flying around crossing the different screens of Shin Saimdang’s (1504-1551) painting, Egg Plant and Grasshoppers, mountains of Gyumjae Jeongseon’s (1676-1759) landscape paintings transform their colours, changing their flowers and trees in the four seasons and the sound of hammering at a Korean traditional blacksmith’s shop gets louder as the workers continue in Kim Hong-do’s (1745-1806) folk paintings. Audiences also will be able to experience the beauty of calmness and emptiness in Korean traditional landscape paintings through the wide projections in our gallery space.
Lee Lee Nam’s digital transformation of famous classic paintings
Lee Lee Nam has been known for his inventive video art style that enlivens the well-known
European paintings, such as Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci or Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass) by Edouard Manet, alive. With Lee Lee Nam’s touches, Mona Lisa makes a bigger smile – that made us always confused – and the environmental surroundings of Manet’s painting are transformed into a Korean landscape. Not only that, the characters and backgrounds in the painting are constantly moving in lively movement in his works. The visual illusions, which seem very real with his cutting-edged techniques, keep the momentum generated in the original works, but at the same time they break the tradition of 2-dimensional painting by turning it into an animated and interactive being.
Lee Lee Nam will visit Sydney for the exhibition and an interview will be available at the opening Reception. Also there will be a special
workshop for children to make their own re-interpretation of Korean traditional painting by using the images in Lee Lee Nam’s artworks.
The KCC thanks the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) for its support. QPAC first
presented a collection of Lee Lee Nam’s artworks for ‘Hello Korea! Korean masters reimagined’ as part of its Out of the Box festival for children in June 2014.