Lee Kun-Yong: Equal Area


Lee Kun-Yong with Australian artists to be announced.

Equal Area presents the work of Lee Kun-Yong, one of Korea’s most seminal conceptual artists, charting the development of his visual and theoretical methodology that has expanded possibilities for performance art since the 1970s. Lee is widely acclaimed for his innovative series of performances that examine the the connection between the logic of the mind and the gestures of the body. Throughout his career, Lee has investigated the connection between the human psyche and action through the act of performance and reperformance. His performances often test this relationship through the act of repetition, demonstrating how the construct of logic is subjective to its locale — slight shifts in each performance capture the body within present moments, leaving traces of an ‘event’.

In this unique presentation of photographic documentation of performances spanning his almost six-decade career, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art brings Lee Kun-Yong’s practice into dialogue with three contemporary Australian artists. Equal Area opens with a special performance of Snail’s Gallop, one of his most critically lauded works which he is staging in Australia for the first time. This is followed by a series of performances and live interventions by Australian artists, taking place in dialogue with the residue of Lee’s performances, that build on this examination of the repeated gesture and elucidate Lee’s influence on global contemporary performative practice.


Lee Kun-Yong (b. 1942, Sariwon, Korea; lives and works in Gunsan, Korea) is one of Korea’s most seminal conceptual artists, exploring the nexus between the human mind and its connection to the world. His experimental, performative practice emerged in 1970s South Korea, a period where the country was marked by diminished civil rights and martial law, including civilian assembly controls and tightly scrutinised codes of propriety behaviour. Through this period, Lee lead numerous artistic response to the political climate, creating subversive automated drawing experiments that made subtle, yet identifiable comments on the authoritarian state. He continues his line of experimentation today, collaborating with new artists and bringing his messaging into the 21st century.

Lee Kun-Yong’s exhibition history includes: Experimental Art of Suwon in the 1980–1990s: It’s Not Quite That (2017), Suwon iPark Museum of Art, Suwon, Korea; As the Moon Waxes and Wanes (2016), National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Korea (MMCA); Lee Kun-Yong in Snail’s Gallop (2014), MMCA; Korean Historical Conceptual Art 1970–80s: Jack-of-all-trades (2010), Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan, Korea; Lee Kun-Yong: Logic, Life, Commonplace (1998), Fine Arts Center of The Korean Culture and Arts Foundation, Seoul, Korea; A Groping for the Identity of Korean Contemporary Art II: The Art in the ‘Reduction’ and ‘Expansion’ Period (1991), Hanwon Gallery, Seoul, Korea; Korean Contemporary Art: The Trend of the 1970s (1974), Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan; 8th Biennale de Paris (1973), Paris, France; and 15th Bienal de São (1979), São Paulo, Brazil.

His works are held in numerous public and private collections, including the Jeonbuk Museum of Art, Wanju, Korea; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea; Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea, and The Rachofsky Collection, Dallas, USA.