Lisson Gallery

Lee Ufan at Power Station of Art

Installation view of 'The Challenging Souls' at Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 28 April - 28 July 2019
Courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Photography Jiang Wenyi.

Installation view of 'The Challenging Souls' at Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 28 April - 28 July 2019
Courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Photography Jiang Wenyi.

Relatum - Infinity Road, 2019
Gravel, mirror, stone © Lee Ufan, Courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Photography Jiang Wenyi.

Installation view of 'The Challenging Souls' at Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 28 April - 28 July 2019
Courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Photography Jiang Wenyi.

Relatum - Stage, 2019
Steel, stone, concrete © Lee Ufan, Courtesy Power Station of Art. Photography Jiang Wenyi.

Infinity Stairs, 2019
Gravel on staircase, dimensions variable © Lee Ufan, Courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Photography Jiang Wenyi.

Relatum - Infinity Road, 2019
Gravel, mirror, stone © Lee Ufan, Courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Photography Jiang Wenyi.

Relatum, 2019
Steel, stone © Lee Ufan, Courtesy Power Station of Art, Shanghai. Photography Jiang Wenyi.

Lee Ufan at Power Station of Art
The Challenging Souls

This April, Power Station of Art in Shanghai opened a major exhibition on the work of Lee Ufan, Yves Klein and Ding Yi. ‘The Challenging Souls’, which ends later this month, presents the artists’ work together for the first time in China as a comparative study between avant-garde art movements of the East and the West in the second half of the 20th century. The exhibition explores how differences and commonalities between the two seemingly opposing cultural standpoints gave way to new avenues in avant-garde art, with the artists working to reject an elitism previously perceptible within the movement, instead celebrating minimal materials and processes and challenging arts relationship to wider society. 

Lee Ufan was a leading figure of the Mono-ha group, or ‘School of Things’, which formed in Tokyo in the 1960s. Its members championed an engagement with raw materials and an exploration of their inherent properties over technological developments and traditional notions of representation. Alongside works in charcoal and oil paint on canvas are a number of site-specific installations, and important works from Lee Ufan’s Dialogue paintings, and steel and stone Relatum series of sculptures. Ufan has continued to develop these two bodies of work over the past four decades - the stones for the Relatum works were on this occasion sourced from a local Shanghai stone. Relatum - Stage (2019) is a two metre-wide concrete platform for panels of mirror and the Chinese stones, and greets visitors outside the Power Station’s main entrance. 

Several of the Dialogue paintings featured in ‘The Challenging Souls’ and two site-specific works pay homage to the ‘International Klein Blue’ pigment created by Yves Klein in the late 1950s. Infinity Stairs (2019) leads visitors between two rows of gravel - one white and one Klein blue - on the main hall’s stairway. For Relatum - Infinity Road (2019), the stones and mirrors of the Relatum series sit atop a layer of the blue gravel, with which Ufan has filled the length of the Power Station’s ground floor corridor. 

The Challenging Souls’ is on view until 28 July 2019. It is co-curated by Gong Yan and Yongwoo Lee, and is organised by Power Station of Art in partnership with The Yves Klein Archives, Lisson Gallery and Pace Gallery.

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