From an island-99176, acrylic on canvas, 259×194cm, 1999


In an extensive range of creative activity, varying from his earlier Happening, installation and other innovative conceptual works of the 1970s to his later work of painting, print, video, photography and pottery from the 1980s on, the artist Lee Kang So (b. 1943) has continuously explored not only the issues and problems specific to the certain periods of contemporary Korean art, but also a more broad and fundamental question of what art is, from new and diverse angles.  This exploration has not been carried out from a formalist, but from a profound philosophical, perspective, inquiring into the significance and importance of art to himself personally and ultimately to humanity.  His paintings do not represent any clearly legible images such as a duck or ducks, a boat, house, river or landscape, but they evoke suggestive, evocatively poetic images of his motifs.  According to the artist, ‘images are never fixed, and they are always floating and continuously changing’.  Therefore, the viewer should free themselves to enjoy the infinitely variable meanings of Lee’s images accordingly to their own imagination.