이만익 키아프 아트 인 아시아 커버스토리
* cover story MAN-IK LEE KIAF 2007 (KOREA
INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR) *
Man-ik Lee Tuesday, 01 May 2007
< Lee Man-ik Crossing of the
river 2007 oil on canvas 160x300cm >
< 이만익--도강(渡江) 2007 oil on canvas
The sound of People Resonant in Primary Colors
< Lee Man-ik Family (as flowers
bloom, the moon rises ) 2007 oil on canvas 46x53cm >
Vivid primary colors dance in Man-ik Lee’s paintings.
The images in simplified and moderate lines,
give an intense impression.
They are also familiar to us, as they are about
candid stories of our people.
Deployed themes are various stories ranging from
legendary tales of the past
to everyday scenes of the present time.
This exemplifies the unique world of Lee?
art with a feast of primary colors and legends,
tinged with Korean aesthetics,
which are not so common even in the art circles
Man-ik Lee holds a belief that good paintings
represent not the voice of individuals,
but that of the society and humankind.
He has been trying to capture the frustrations and dreams of the
Koreans in his painting.
In addition, he has been endeavoring to represent
This was realized by appropriating the myths of
Goguryo, and Pansori
such as Chunhyangga and Simcheongjon.
What he has been searching for are the very stories
of our national sentiment.
In particular,he is trying to avoid being unintelligible
For this reason, he prefers a simple compostion
to serious gestures.
Of course, this is harmoized with the use of primary
beauty of simplificatio, and organized composition
to allow him to create his own type.
His works are oil paintings based on western style,
however, they can be seen as modern succession
of the Korean traditional colored paintings
as well as they attempt to broaden the range of
fine art audience.
In this respect, I believe Man-ik Lee? work is
Bum-mo Youn Art Critic
Paintings That Speak, Poems with No Sound
< Lee Man-ik Towards a blooming
town 2006 oil on canvas 112x162cm >
His paintings have glaring stars in the night
flowers at some corners of the canvas and birds
of good omen which predict bright future.
Lee overcomes the grief and suffering of humans
with the auspicious signs of the universe,
the bliss of nature, and human sympathy.
Appreciating his art is not a serious task, but a joyful experience.
Although his paintings are often regarded as visual
the decoration itself arises from the artist intention
that designed to give us pleasure
with rhythmic movement of life.
In a word, his art world is a positive view and
a logic of interpretation of human existence.
Lee is a symbolist artist who arranges the world
of sentiments logically and
who succeeds in establishing the symolic modes
appropriate for him.
Like the birth of a new life, the creation of a particular mode
bears history in itself.
In this respect, those modes he has established
a very close relationship with the already existing
But who could dare attribute Lee? symbolic paintings
to other artist?
Lee standsout as a great artist who has found
his identity and
improved the artistic standard of our lives.
Humoristical Visualization of Korean
Life and Sentiments
< Joumong, the founder of Goguryeo
dynasty grasps the agency of Providence,
2006 oil on canvas, 112x162cm
The world of Man-ik Lee’work is literally original,
clearly unfolding the admiration
or the nostalgia for the folk life by harmonizing
explanatory descriptions and formative ways.
He uses simple techniques on screens,
using distinct strong black outlines to have
clear emphasis on the characters and
other aspects of the stage, and using flat colors
as red, yellow, blue, purple, light green as decorations.
The resulting clarity immediately affects to our senses of popular
or general aesthetics.
It also has a special meaning in that it
consciously handles literal or narrative themes
that all modern formalism,
including abstractionism has turned their backs
His works create uniqueness with beautiful emotional and sentimental
which has been formed in the history of people?
His motifs of tales, songs, and folkways have
as very Korean materials that nobody has ever
really touched upon.
Despite the antiquity and unreality of the story,
it creates a novel formative characteristic
that comes close to today’s views in a humorous
The typical Korean that can be found in his pictures is all simple,
innocent and peaceful.
Many people feel close to his work without feeling
due mostly to the unfolding of popular themes,
which he emphasizes.
Lee’s strolls through the past and the present,
and his tenacity towards Korean life and sentiments
continue endlessly with the originality of the
Gu-yeol Lee Art Historian
A search for Korean identity
in one artist's broad strokes
by Limb Jae-un 2009
Lee’s “Great Korean Ahn Jung-geun” (2008)
Dark bold outlines, simplified forms and earthy
are part of the signature style that makes Lee Man-ik's
paintings instantly recognizable.
That man himself, meanwhile, is very down-to-earth and genuine.
Now 71, Lee says he wants his works reflect humanism,
which he believes is lacking in contemporary art.
"Contemporary art is not foe humanity but is art
for the sake of art,"
Lee said. " I tried to put humanism-related
themes into my paintings."
Sixty paintings by Lee will be shown at Gallery Hyundai
In southern Seoul beginning tomorrow in exhibition
These works include his most recent paintings,
This year, as well as those created during the 1990s.
Lee’s works shows a fascination with literature,
History, poetry and mythology, with distinctively
His human figures have dark brown skin and wear
humble traditional clothes.
As a whole, Lee’s oeuvre evokesnostalgia.
The artist said his style was formed in the late
after he returned from a trip to Paris that began
Lee says after his voyage to Europe he thought
he ought to
base his style on Korean emotions rather than simply
following Western traditions.
“I painted and erased over and over.”
“Then, I came across the concept of ‘We
I wanted to include human relationships between
me and my family,
with family and neighbors, and with my country
and its history.
There, I wanted to find our identity.
“As I delved into Korean themes, my paintings
two-dimensional and of perspective.”
Lee’s paintings were so unique and powerful that
Some of his works were even used as posters for cultural events.
His painting of Queen Myeongseong was used in
as a poster for the local musical “The Last Empress.”
Which was based on the life story of the Joseon
(1392-1910) queen who was murdered by Japanese
Another piece was used for the 2007 musical
“Dancing Shadow,” which was adapted from the novel
“Forest Fire” by Cha Bum-suk about a remote village
the Korean War. These two pieces are also part of the exhibit.
LEE MAN IK www.maniklee.com
Man-ik Lee was born in Haihjou, Hwang-haih Province, Korea in
He received his B.F.A. from Seoul National University in 1961.
He was an art director of the 24th Olympiad Seoul(1988)and
8th Paralympics Seoul(1988).
He is the winner of 5th 'Lee Jeung-Saub Art Prize'.
Currently, his 37th solo exhibition was held in
Gallery Hyndai, Seoul, 2009 12 .3 - 20
He held numerous group and invitation exhibitions
at China, Japan, France, U.S.A. and etc.