- LEE Ufan - Creator
- Accession No.
- Date Created
- Dimensions A
57 x 536 x 526cm (installed); four iron plates: 2 x 120 x 80cm (each); four stones: 57 x 57 x 58cm; 52 x 75 x 52cm; 44 x 69 x 53cm; 49 x 70 x 49cm
Installed 57 x 536 x 526 cm
Parts a-d: iron plates (each) 2 x 120 x 80 cm
Part e: stone 57 x 57 x 58 cm
Part f: stone 52 x 75 x 52 cm
Part g: stone 44 x 69 x 53 cm
Part h: stone 49 x 70 x 49 cm
- Media Category
- Secondary Media Category
Iron plates, stones
- Place Created
- Credit Line
The Kenneth and Yasuko Myer Collection of Contemporary Asian Art.
Purchased 2002 with funds from The Myer Foundation, a project of the Sidney Myer Centenary Celebration 1899-1999, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Lee Ufan's particular radicalism is associated with his contribution to the Mono-ha ('School of things') movement of the late 1960s and 1970s in Japan. His continuing 'Relatum' sculptures began at this time and encapsulate the sensibilities of the art movement that underpins his entire oeuvre. Followers of the Mono-ha movement sought to shift the then focus of contemporary Japanese art through recognition and acknowledgment of non-Western positions, such as the philosophical concerns of Buddhism and Daoism, as essential elements of modern avant-garde practice.
The 'Relatum' sculptures - invariably confining themselves to two materials, rock and metal - are unique in each manifestation and within each environment. Within Lee Ufan's sculptures, specific relationships are nuanced between the stones and the industrial iron plates, and between the physical space the work takes up, and the viewer. Lee Ufan has said, 'Its hardness, weight and liability to rust come from nature but are standardised in a human foundry. An iron plate is both an intermediary bridging idea and material...'(1) These works offer a heightened understanding of external and internal worlds. The stones are very carefully selected and the artist explains the interrelationships that occur within the work once installed:
'I select solid ones which are as expressionless as possible, not peculiar in shape or colour, and which can go well with the planning... When they are combined, changed in orientation with iron plates, and their own space gradually establishes itself, the rocks reveal their own character and presence.'(2) Lee Ufan further describes his 'Relatum' works: 'I have made sculptures which are not self-contained and which somehow erase their presence and allow space to move with them, using materials of nature not processed too much, or simple industrial stock... We can say that sculpture really is the place of encounters, where the air is full of premonitions. There is no doubt that I have always made my sculpture out of a longing for this strange liberated area.'(3)
Lee Ufan's spare handling of media encourages the viewer to meditate on the relationships between substances, beyond literal interpretations of the materials themselves. This process suggests a Buddhist perspective of things in flux, interconnected yet always changing. In this way, the Zen garden is invoked in Lee Ufan's 'Relatum' sculptures.
1. Fisher, Jean (ed.). Selected Writings by Lee Ufan, 1970-96. Lisson Gallery, London, 1996, p.83.
2. Selected Writings by Lee Ufan, 1970-96, p.30.
3. Selected Writings by Lee Ufan, 1970-96, p.28.
Note: The artist has spelt his name both as Lee Ufan and Lee U-fan.
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