Born in 1965 in Hapchen Korea, Jae Hyo Lee produces immaculately formed, intricate sculptures that reveal a mastery of his materials.
In the Gyeonggi Province, where he lives, in the south of Seoul, the forest and the Han River are never far away. The subject of nature is central to the art of Lee Jae Hyo. "I have a great respect for nature. My works are inspired by it. I collect logs in forests, the stones come from the riverbed. To choose one or the other already determined the work to come, "says Lee.
The energy of nature, the uncluttered lines, the simplicity of its elements, shapes his works. "I don’t really know which of the two, the material or the artist, is prevailing! It is as if my hands followed the essence of the material ... Every wood has its own characteristics. I don’t work against it, but with it. The material guides my gesture, the texture decides the form. We can’t impose it from the outside.
The globe is a perfect form that is recurrent in his work. One needs to touch them to feel the smoothness of the polished wood, as smooth as the silk. But also to smell the scent of wood grain and stones…
The artist shares a great respect for raw materials but also a will to dominate what nature has provided. The perfection of his works lies in the balance between complexity of forms and simplicity of materials
As a veritable genius, he lays bare the intimate nature of these materials and enhances the natural shape and color of wood, so that it becomes a work of art.
Lee´s works willfully play with the oft-contested boundaries between modern art and design, referencing the idealist´s cubes, cylinders and cones.
His wood-on-wood combinations read as playful meditations on the multifaceted nature of wood itself.
Revealing a subtly humorous and unsentimental attitude to nature, what unites these works is a belief that the beauty of art is a product of the labor from whence it comes, whether this be the meticulous carving of larch trunks into the form of a perfect sphere or, equally, the precise bending and sanding of thousands of nails hammered one after another into a hunk of cut lumber.
Amongst many other distinctions Jaehyo was in 1998 Grand Prize Winner at the Osaka Triennial and in 2002 recipient of the prestigious Irish Sculpture in Woodland commission. His works are held in public and private collections across Europe, Asia and North America.
Lee Jaehyo live and work in Korea.