LEE Jaesam (1960)


Using charcoal, which is rather a basic drawing medium, Lee once worked on ultrarealistic portraits and bamboo tree paintings everyday from 8 to 5, just like an ordinary office worker. Moreover, he worked exclusively on large-scale paintings that only major galleries would be willing to represent, even if he didn’t appear to be particularly well off. Once I asked him if it “would do” to keep on working doggedly in that style forever. By “would do” I was referring both to artistic perfection and practical livelihood. His craftsmanship with charcoal grew swifter, his mask grew smaller, and his charcoal became a high calibre medium of painting. When he is painting, he looks like nothing but a craftsman. Yet he tries to accommodate invisible elements like “wind” or “sound” beyond the mere reproduction of visible landscapes. In his more recent works, like landscapes of water (e.g. waterfalls and ponds), more emphasis is placed on the moonlight that shines on the landscape than on the water spectacles themselves. He never reproduces natural lighting in portraits and landscapes alike. As it is not a faithful rendering of nature, a landscape of rich tonalities can be created – which is precisely the case of this show. It is like a dark night when variations of light are minimized and only the essence remains. The artist shines the entrance to the dark night with his own creation of moonlight. The dark charcoal lighting gleams on the white canvas. In the bright area where there is little or no charcoal lighting remains his mental perception of the moon.



1984 B.F.A., Graduated from College of Fine Arts, Gangnung National University

1989 MFA, Graduated from Graduate School, Hongik University





2016 HAEUM Museum of Art, Korea

2015 Shin Museum of Art, Korea

2015 Lotte Gallery, Korea

2014 Artside Gallery, Korea

2013 Space K, Korea

2013 Gallery ISM, Korea

2012 YOUNGWEOL Culture Art Center, Korea

2011 Artside Gallery, Korea

2010 JANGHEUNG Art Park, Korea

2008 Gallery Artside Beijing, China



2016 Being in Nature (Museum SAN, Wonju)

2015 The 1st Anniversary Exhibition of MMCA Seoul-GARDEN (MMCA, Seoul)

2014 The Wind that Wakes the Bamboo (Gwangju National Museum)

2013 A Scene From a Memory (ODETOART, Singapore)

The Wood of Trees, from Trees... (Museum of Modern Art Chungmungyu, Ansan)

Tagging Art Works (Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan)

Korean Art Today (Korean Cultural Office, Sydney, Australia)