Lee Ufan retrospective ‘Inhabiting Time’ opens at Centre Pompidou Metz
28 February 2019Centre Pompidou Metz has opened a retrospective exhibition on the work of Lee Ufan. ‘Inhabiting Time’ traces the progression of main themes that have informed Ufan’s work from the 1960s to the present. Rather than provide a chronological survey of his career, the exhibition aims to highlight how the artist’s relationship with painted/ unpainted and occupied/ empty space has continued to develop as the focus of his practice over several decades.
As part of Japan's Mono-ha ('School of Things') movement, Lee Ufan strove for a new definition of art that rejected Western notions of representation, focusing on the relationships of materials and perceptions. This resulted in a visual communication that by-passed both language and figurative representation, instead using sensitive interventions to provoke 'encounters' - for example between natural and industrial materials - as in his celebrated sculpture series Relatum. ‘Inhabiting Time’ offers a meditative pathway through the successive or parallel phases in Lee Ufan's career - the relationship between things and their surrounding space, forms and voids, but also the dialogue between action and non-action.
The exhibition ends with a meditation room, echoing the meditation cell installed by Lee Ufan as the conclusion of the visitor experience at his personal museum in Naoshima, Japan - allowing visitors to prolong their visit through reflection and recollection. Complementing and expanding on the exhibition, composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has created a soundtrack in response to the essential materials, poetry and philosophy of Lee Ufan's work.
The exhibition runs until 30 September 2019. Find out more via the Centre Pompidou Metz’ website.
Image: Lee Ufan, Watercolour painting on stones, 1998, Hakone Valley. © Lee Ufan