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Tree… #8, Tree… #10

Artist | Lee Myung-Ho

Media | Ink on paper


Description of the Work

Gazing at the work of photographer Lee Myung-Ho makes the viewer feel as if he or she is standing all alone in the midst of a great expanse of nature, with winds gusting about. The scene captured in the photograph may well be a field or tree somewhere in windy Jeju. Lee has been working on a photographic “photo-performance project” since 2004, combining a profound exploration of the reproduction and re-staging of imagery with homages to nature. In his most well-known series, he sets up a backdrop of white canvas behind the tree to separate the object from its natural context, creating an illusion in which the tree seems to be painted on the canvas. This is what differentiates Lee’s work from other photographic works that merely document the landscape. The tree, heretofore only a part of nature, is transformed into a beautiful object of art and an object worthy of attention by the photographer’s intervention, in which he flattens the tree into a two-dimensional image on a wide expanse of canvas.

About the Artist

The photographer Lee Myung-Ho took up the camera in order to seek answers to questions about the essence of life. Hoping that the visceral shock from a fleeting image would reveal the essence of life and of art, he traveled around the world in its pursuit. He made his name with the resulting “Tree” series, where he shot trees against a backdrop of white canvas. The act of separating the tree from its natural surroundings, thereby conferring artistic significance, is widely regarded as a homage to nature, and a profound exploration of the reproduction and re-staging of imagery. Lee established himself by winning the 2006 Sajin Bipyong Award and the 2009 Artist of Tomorrow Award from the Sungkok Art Museum, among others. He has shown his work in both solo and group exhibitions at institutions such as the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Museums Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, the Yossi Milo Gallery in New York, and the Gallery Hyundai in Korea. He is currently active as an ambassador for the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Leica, among others. His work is held in major museums and libraries in Korea and abroad, including the National Library of France, the Museums Victoria in Australia, the J. Paul Getty Museum in the US, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Russia, and the Seoul Museum of Art and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea.

Lee Myung-Ho (b. 1975, Republic of Korea)

Ph.D., Department of Photography, Chung-Ang University Graduate School
Graduated from the Department of Photography, Chung-Ang University School of Fine Art