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Seahyun Lee

Idea Landscape Painting of Seahyun Lee: A reality like dream and A dream like reality

In the East, landscape painting expressing mountains and hills, rivers and oceans, grasses and trees is the subject of the Way (Tao). Further, such a landscape has been seen as a place to show off the best personality. Landscape painting based on these values has been developed along with the flow of philosophy and thought according to the times. Landscape painting is often misunderstood as what expressing nature, but it expresses the world of ideas based on philosophical reasons such as Confucianism and Taoism. The title of this exhibition, "Red – Silly Dream", expresses the Taoist meaning "an empty dream". This work expresses the will of the artist to leave the social world and live a life in nature because life is a spring dream, living in wealth and honor has no real meaning in life.

Two months before his graduate work at the University of the Arts London Chelsea in 2006, he began his work on the series "Between Red," which depicts Korean mountains and rivers on a canvas only with a red color. During his study abroad, he was concerned with the creative techniques of overcoming the oil painting techniques of Europe's great art historical tradition, and found the answers in the works of two great masters in the Joseon Dynasty period; Jeong Seon (1676 to 1759) and Kang Se-hwang (1713 to 1791). He was shocked by the fact that the island, where he put the ashes of his mother, has been destroyed by property development, and he decides to record islands, oceans, and mountains that disappear with senseless construction. At the time of his military service in the front, the landscape of the DMZ he used in his night vision was red. “It was an unrealistic landscape that expressed fear and fear, and it was a landscape that could not enter the bay.”, he said. In the background of this work, there are warships, shells and shattered buildings, which show the sadness of Korean modern history and division of history strongly. In ‘Between Red’ like ‘BR-187’ in 2019, the childhood of the artist's acquaintance or celebrity begins to emerge. They look outside the canvas at the tragic scene like the tragic accident of Sewol ferry. ‘Red Landscape Painting’, the muscular bodies found in porn magazines and on the internet are linked to the Korean geographical features, is introduced for the first time in this exhibition.

The image in the work begins with the situation and landscape of Korea surrounding the artist. Through the scenes of Geojedo island in childhood, the scenery of the DMZ in the military service, and the tragic accidents of Korea through the news, he creates his subjectivity and forms the artist's inner world. The irrational and shocking realities that can only happen in dreams combine with the dreamy image. The images combine with traditional painting techniques such as perspective, combination of space, shading, and such irrational reality is recreated as a painting reality. Many of painting revolutionaries in the twentieth-century declared the arrival of the death of paintings, anti-art and anart. But still, many painters draw their own aesthetics on the canvas. The history of painting has never been cut off for over 10,000 years since the stone age of Lascaux Cave paintings. He is one of the major painters who built his own unique style in the long history and crisis of such paintings. The intense red color and high density screen make a strong impression on everyone. He interprets the tradition of Joseon landscape paintings in a modern manner, treats the reality of divided Korea as the theme for his work, and leaves the face of people who experienced tragedy as a background of his painting, which is natural to pay attention to his works.


■ JiYoon Yang (Mimesis Art Museum Curator)

Seahyun Lee



2006 Chelsea Colleage of Arts. MA Fine Art, London, UK
2001 Hongik Uninersitiy of Fine Arts, MA Fine Art, Seoul, Korea
1989 Hongik Uninersitiy of Fine Arts, BA Fine Art, Seoul, Korea

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2015 Red-silly dream, Mimesis art museun, Kyung-gi
2012 Plastic Garden, Hakgojae gallery, Seoul

2011 Between Red, Nicholas Robinson Gallery, Newyork
2009 Between Red, 존카&존카 gallery, Milano
2009 Between Red, Heywood House, UK

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017 Korea Tomorrow  2017, Sungkok art museum, Seoul
2017 ART369, Art place,Seoul
2017 Borrowed the landscape, Gangneung museum of art, Gangneung

2017 Neo-naturalism, Ilwoo space, Seoul
2017 To see six eyes, Muan seungwoo oh museum of art, Muan


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