Lee Kun-Yong, still from Relay Life, 1979/2021
Lee Kun-Yong
Jan 14 – Mar 3, 2022

Pace is pleased to begin representing the boundary-pushing performance artist Lee Kun-Yong on a globalscale. The artist’s forthcoming solo exhibition at Pace’s Hong Kong space, which runs from January 14 to March 3, 2022, marks his third presentation with the gallery.

Lee, whose practice spans performance, sculpture, installation, and video, rose to prominence as a leading figure of the Korean avant-garde during the 1970s, a period in which the country grappled with authoritarianism and repression of freedom of expression. He was a founding member of the artist group Space and Time, and he is widely regarded as a pioneer of performance art in Korea. Works from one of the artist’s most iconic series, Bodyscape, which he began in 1976, will be on view in Pace’s exhibition in Hong Kong. For these works, Lee approaches canvases from various angles, creating records of his physical relationships to his chosen medium. Lee’s experimentations of this kind yield bold abstractions that document his body’s movements. The artist is known for sustaining his performances, like Bodyscape, over the course of many years of his career.

Pace’s exhibition will also feature videos of Lee performing Relay Life and Five Steps. With Relay Life, which debuted at the 1979 Bienal de São Paulo, the artist lays out his possessions in a line and ultimately lies face down at the end of the trail of objects. As art historian Joan Kee has written of the work, “The last image, in which he appears face down, encapsulates Lee’s ideas about the necessity of the unnecessary gesture, and seems to propose inaction as the most eloquent action of all.”

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