The Korea Herald


MMCA to host Korean avant-garde artist Lee Seung-taek’s academic seminar online

By Park Yuna

Published : March 2, 2021 - 16:25

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An installation of “Lee Seung Taek’s Non-Art: The Inversive Act” (MMCA) An installation of “Lee Seung Taek’s Non-Art: The Inversive Act” (MMCA)
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea will host an online academic seminar to explore the work of avant-garde artist Lee Seung-taek, as part of a special session associated with the artist’s ongoing retrospective exhibition.

The artist’s first retrospective at the national museum, which opened in November, encompasses the artist’s 60-year career through around 250 installations, sculptures and paintings. The exhibition runs through March 28.

“The academic seminar is to explore the significances of Lee Seung-taek’s art in the contemporary art world, which challenged the Korean art world at the time,” said MMCA Director Youn Bummo.

The speakers at the online seminar include Kim Yi-soon, professor of the Department of Art history at Hongik University, Lee Young-chul, professor at Kaywon University of Art and Design and art critic Yoon Jin-sup.

The panels will discuss Lee’s work and how the avant-garde artist came up with characteristics of his own since the 1950s when the country was going through the turmoil of the Korean War and times of rapid industrialization.

The panel session will be followed by a Q&A session with questions from the online chatroom.

The 87-year-old artist challenged the concept of sculpture, experimenting with new materials and unconventional approaches to installations -- from traditional earthenware storage containers, or “onggi,” to industrial materials such as plastic items, coal briquettes, steel, lumber and cement. The materials that were not perceived for sculpting purposes at the time became Lee’s subject matter. The concept of his experiments in materials for sculptural works was dubbed “nonsculpture.”

In the 1960s, Lee also began to work on “formless works,” incorporating natural elements such as wind, fire and smoke into his art.

The online seminar will be streamed live on MMCA’s YouTube channel on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The link to the online seminar will be distributed only to those who apply to participate in the seminar. The application will be accepted by 6 p.m. Thursday through the MMCA’s online website.

By Park Yuna (